In the Anglo-Saxon period, you must have had many qualities and strengths to become a hero. Principally the following were fighting in defence of king, truthfulness, faithfulness, strength, courage, and keeping promises and oaths.
Beowulf therefore qualified as a hero.
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In the beginning of the epic, we are presented with monster Grendel’s attack on Htothgar and his people. When Beowulf hears what has happened, he crosses the ocean to go help the king that he’s never met. This already shows great courage and care from Beowulf’s part.
” I shall give treasures to that brave man for his impetuous courage “. .
Later on we learn how respectful Beowulf is to his friends, and enemies.
He does not believe in being superior or anyone having the upper hand; so he announces that he shall not fight the monster with his sword, but with his bare hands. He knew that to decently win a battle, no sword or other arm would do it, he knew, that to succeed he only had to rely on his strength and courage.
“I, therefore, to amuse Hygelac my lord, scorn to carry sword or shield, but I shall seize my enemy in my hand grip and fight, enemy against enemy”.
Also, Beowulf is selfless and very caring towards other people’s being.
After being told of how strong and dangerous Grendel is, you might think that he would back off for his own safety, but he doesn’t.
Beowulf is aware of the fact that he might lose his own life fighting Grendel, but for him his life has no value next to all the people’s. He would rather die trying to save his people than standing on the side and watching the monster destroy everything. “Nor will you need, if death takes me, worry about a burial”.
As he says, Beowulf fights Grendel with bare hands and his own faith and wins the battle. Yet, in his next battles, Beowulf starts relying more and more on material things. When he has to fight Grendel’s mother he uses a sword, and when that fails him, uses a giant’s sword to slash her.