The epic story’s main character Beowulf is a warrior. Beowulf is a young warrior among his people the Geats. He fights with some fictitious character such as Grendel and the dragon. Throughout the epic poem, Beowulf is displayed as possessing battle-hardened personality as an epic conqueror. The story, therefore, gives the character of Beowulf in various ways and using a variety of descriptions.
The first characteristic of Beowulf as indicated from the epic story is the courage. Beowulf is a young man who is destined for fame. He becomes famous among his community for his courage. He is clashed in many fights and displays this quality for everyone. The community recognizes him as the toughest and the strongest person alive. His courage is seen when he gets into a fight with Grendel a fictitious fighter who attacks his people. He fights with Grendel, a descendant of Cain, who is depicted as an especially threatening image of real Evil. Living “in a hell not hell but earth” (103), without using any weapon, since no weapon could defeat him. Grendel was a fighter that none of the other fighters was successful in handling. His courage permitted him to prevail in fights and control the battles that he was involved in. Although this courage also made him become the overconfidence with himself attracting criticism from his peers, “Are you the Beowulf, who competed with Breca wollen…… with vanity…” (242).
The second character of Beowulf is loyalty. Loyalty is depicted as a strong guiding virtue in Beowulf’s life. First, the character comes to the rescue of the Danes, initially for the sake of enhancing his reputation he also performs as a sign to of loyalty to his king in Geatland. It is however evident later that his loyalty is not exactly based on a feeling of responsibility towards his people but as a debt he has to pay to Hrothgar, the old king who once rescued his father, in what he calls “fine old treasures” (472). Whichever the case, Beowulf displays a level of loyalty that gives him a place in the hearts of many.
Beowulf also displays a character of honor. The hero in the epic literature is keen to ensure that he acquires honorable reputation. He fights battles with the intention that his triumph will give him honor and increase his reputation among his people. He honors friendship and even if he is “most eager for fame (3182), and he does not harm others or use his power wrongly, “no savage mind” (2180). He honors the old king due to his wisdom, when the old king dies, and he refuses to take the throne as offered by the queen and instead honors and serve the king’s son who takes over. It is this honor that make him a king later in life, and he continues ruling with honor and fidelity for half a century.
Beowulf is a character who is very eager to obtain a good reputation. He makes a good use of his courage to acquire and secure his reputation as a brave person who is ready to serve and protect his people with loyalty. He is also a good friend and despite the initial criticism of overconfidence, at last we see an honorable character in Beowulf. He is ruled by two kings who he serves with loyalty and at last he also has a chance to rule. However, even as the king, he rules with honor and courage.
Liuzza, R M. Beowulf. Peterborough, Ont: Broadview, 1999. Print.