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Beowulf Round or Flat Character Essay Sample

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Beowulf Round or Flat Character Essay Sample

Beowulf is a hero noted for his acts of courage and the nobility with which he performed these acts. Beowulf embodied the ideals of conduct that were most valued in this setting. Beowulf is described as the perfect hero, almost too perfect. There lies the problem of Beowulf’s character, it is flat. Beowulf fights for his people and fights evil with super-human abilities to bring about peace and justice. Three traits of Beowulf supports his being the ultimate super hero, these are his amazing physical strength, his ability to put people’s welfare before his own, and that he does not fear death. In all of Beowulf’s character there is never a seemingly piece of negativity to allow a deeper character involvement, Beowulf is the perpetual “good guy.”

Beowulf’s character never changes. Beowulf is a hero in the eyes of his men and people through his amazing physical strength. Beowulf fought in numerous battles and always returned victorious from all but his last battle. Beowulf is strong enough to kill the monster Grendel with his bare hands by ripping off his arm. When Beowulf is fighting Grendel’s mother, who is wanting revenge for her son’s death, Beowulf is able to kill her by slashing her neck with a giant’s sword that can only be lifted by a person as strong as Beowulf. When Beowulf chops off her head, he carries it from the ocean with ease, but it takes four men to lift the head and carry it back to Herot mead-hall. This physical strength is a key trait to Beowulf’s heroism, but also depicts his character as flat, everything is predictable.

The second heroic trait of Beowulf is his ability to put his peoples welfare before his own. Beowulf is sent as an emissary to help rid the Danes of the evil Grendel. Beowulf risks his own life for the Danes, asking for help from no one. Beowulf realizes the dangers but fears for nothing of his own life. Beowulf stays the same throughout this course, a simple flat character. This trait is continued even after Beowulf has served his people as king of the Geats for fifty years, he goes to battle one last time to fight a horrible dragon that is frightening all of his people. Beowulf is old and tired but he defeats the dragon in order to protect his people. Even in his death, Beowulf wished to secure safety for the Geats. Beowulf’s death wish was that a tall lighthouse be built in order to help the people their way back from the sea.

The third and final trait of Beowulf which proves his flatness of character is that he is not afraid to die. Beowulf always explains his death wishes before going into battle and always requests to have any of his assets delivered to his people. “And if death does take me, send the hammered mail of my armor to Higlac, return the inheritance I had from Hrehtel, and from the Wayland, Fate will unwind as it must! (18).” Beowulf is predictable, he is aware that he will be glorified in life or death for his actions. Beowulf knows that when he fights an enemy like Grendel or Grendel’s mother he will achieve immortality as the victor or loser. “When we crossed the sea, my comrades and I, I already knew that all my purpose was this: to win the will of your people or die in battle, pressed in Grendel’s firm grip. Let me live in greatness and courage, or here in this hall welcome my death! (22).” Beowulf understands that fate will work its magic no matter what and he could be killed at any point in his life Beowulf faces that reality by showing no fear and preparing for a positive or fatal outcome. Beowulf has become a predictable character, flat, his only substance is his three traits.

Beowulf is the essential all time super hero. He is predictable, there is no suspense in what his character will do. Beowulf is always Beowulf. The suspense and drama is in the other characters. Beowulf although the central character, is flat and so very predictable.

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