Hero in Literature

An exploration of the meaning of a true heroic character in literature and in life.

This paper seeks to establish a firm definition of what a hero is considered to be and then to look at the hero, Odysseus, as compared with the hero, Beowulf. The writer looks at a number of books in which a hero is portrayed to discover what exactly it takes to be a hero.
“Although Beowulf is not defined as supernatural, his physical feats and bravery are considered beyond that of a normal man. Beowulf, however, seems to believe that he is immortal. He promises to put an end, without weapons and single-handedly, to Grendel, a monster who eats thirty things at a time and has terrorized the Danes unchecked for twelve years. When he first speaks with Hrothgar he delineates his accomplishments as though to prove that he is indestructible. This is simply not true: Beowulf is a mortal man who dies at the end of the story.”