In Beowulf, the author surveys the heroism of Beowulf throughout his valiant exploits. Beowulf is the archetype of an epic hero; distinguished with extraordinary strength and skills, Beowulf proves to be powerful, loyal, and courageous. He set a noble example for all human beings relaying the necessity of brotherhood and selflessness.
Beowulf exemplifies his heroism through his devout loyalty to his lord Higlac. In the beginning of the story, Beowulf hears of the nights of terror caused by Grendel. “In his far-off home, Beowulf, Higlac’s follower, and the strongest of the Geats heard how Grendel filled nights with horror- Beowulf, respecting his lord’s request, attempts the extremely dangerous feat to rescue Hrothgar and his people from the grips of Grendel. “My people have said, the wisest, most knowing, and best of them, that my duty [is] to go to the Dane’s great king and request that I may purge all evil from this hall.” Accomplishing the seemingly impossible task and fulfilling the promise to Hrothgar, Beowulf proves he is loyal and worthy of his classification as an epic hero.
Beowulf also exemplifies yet another universal heroic trait: selflessness. He fought valiantly against Grendel and his mother with little regard to his own life. In his battle to liberate Hrothgar and the people Heorot, he realizes the dangers but fears nothing for his own life. “In his clash with the fire-drake [Grendel], Beowulf lays down his life, thereby blessing with fresh energy the ideal of courage for which he dies.” Moreover, Beowulf shows great leadership by sacrificing himself for the benefit of others. “That night Beowulf and his men take the places of Hrothgar and the Danes inside Herot. While his men sleep, Beowulf lies awake, eager to meet with Grendel.” Beowulf sacrifices his own need for rest to preserve the safety of his men. He continues this selflessness even in his old age, as he once again risked his life for the security of his kingdom in his battle against the dragon.