Heorot in Beowulf Epic Poem

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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In English literature, an epic poem is a continuous long journey that a hero takes in order to overcome great boundaries and dangers. Epic poems were the first forms of literature to be told orally. In the early ages, epic poems would emphasize cultural values and traditions. Beowulf is the story of a man who becomes a hero when desperate help is needed at the Heorot by Hrothgar, King of Danes. There are multiple examples that resemble the journey Beowulf encounters that fits the mold of an epic poem.

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To begin with, Heorot is a fantastic mead hall that Hrothgar constructs for his warriors to celebrate in. Within the walls of Heorot, great commotion and happiness is spread amongst the warriors. Below Heorot, lives an evil creature who goes by the name of Grendel. Grendel is so disturbed and enraged by the noisiness and cheerfulness coming from the Heorot that he decides to attack the 30 men celebrating. This brings about a dilemma in which Beowulf will later encounter. After Grendel’s first attack, he continues to attack the people of Heorot out of anger. The kings noble men decide to flee in order to survive. Word gets back to Beowulf who is in Sweden. Beowulf realizes that he is the only one who can save the people of Denmark. Beowulf fits the mold of an epic hero because he is the only one who is thought to be courageous enough to end Grendel’s malicious acts.

When Beowulf and his noble men arrive, it’s stated that, On the second day, they saw tall cliffs ahead and knew their journey was over. This represents an epic poem because it shows that they have embarked a long-lasting expedition. Later in the story, Beowulf defeats Grendel, but soon realizes that his quest does not end there.

Beowulf can be interpreted as an epic hero because he has various valiant characteristics. For instance, when Beowulf is put up against Grendel’s revenge-seeking mother, he is making the heroic deed of putting his life at risk in order to grant Hrothgar and the people peace. Beowulf attains a kind of super-human ability to hold his breath for a long time while he fights underwater. This is another quality Beowulf possesses that proves he is an epic hero. Once the battle is over with Grendel’s mother, Beowulf returns home and rules as king of the Geats as stated in the poem, He fittingly ruled them a fifty of winters till a certain one ‘gan, on gloom-darkening nights, a dragon, to govern, who guarded a treasure. Another way in which Beowulf portrays an epic hero is when he volunteers yet again to confront the frantic dragon. He takes 12 men with him to fight the dragon, however, they all end up cowardly fleeing into the woods, except for Wiglaf. Although Beowulf dies in battle, he and Wiglaf manage to kill the dragon.

In conclusion, Beowulf is a great example of both an epic poem and hero because it conveys the main character with superhuman and heroic traits who faces continuous complications in a long period. When the guard says, Nor have I seen a mightier man-at-arms on this earth than the one standing here: unless I am mistaken, he is truly noble. This is no mere hanger-on in a hero’s armour, it is clear that the poem depicts Beowulf as an honorable powerful being who is seen as everyone’s savior.

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Heorot in Beowulf Epic Poem. (2020, Jan 10). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/heorot-is-a-fantastic-mead/