Heroes and epics of today - Hannah Bursic


An epic is defined as a long narrative poem that celebrates heroes deeds, they are often based upon historical facts. These qualities are seen in the narrative Beowulf. Beowulf defeated Grendel in battle, his heroism is celebrated, "Then old and young rejoiced, turned back from that happy pilgrimage, mounted their hard-hooved horses, high-spirited stallions, and rode them slowly toward Herot again, retelling Beowulf's bravery as they jogged along" (Raffel 54).

Epic qualities, such as celebrating a heroes deed, are shown again after the battle of Grendel's mother, "At the hall, bold and warlike, and with Beowulf, their lord and leader, they walked on the mead-hall green. Then the Geats' brave prince entered Herot, covered with glory for the daring battle he fought" (Raffel 61).

Even once Beowulf had past he was still glorified and celebrated for being hero, "He'd reached the end of his days, their mighty war-like, the great lord of the Geats, gone to a glorious death..."(Raffel 69).

Beowulf is an epic based upon its celebration and glorification of an epic hero.

Modern Epic

An example of an epic hero in a modern day movie is William Turner from the movie series Pirates of the Caribbean. Will Turner appears in three of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, journeying through many adventures and battles along side Captain Jack Sparrow.

A characteristic of many epic heroes is that many have a guide along the way. Will's guide is Jack who helps him become a true pirate. In the first video clip you see their first encounter.

In the second clip you see Will sacrificing himself to save others. Although he may not have super strength or super speed, but he still shows epic hero qualities.

Another quality of an epic hero commonly seen is some sort of resurrection. In Will Turners final movie, seen in the last clip, he is stabbed in the heart, because he stabs the heart of Davy Jones himself, he is resurrected and now lives forever, he becomes inhuman, he cannot be killed.

Will Turner and Captain Sparrow sword fight
Pirates of the Caribbean AWE: Will Turner full death scene
POTC AWE - Will returns

Beowulf as an Epic Hero

Beowulf's extraordinary strength is shown many times in each battle fought, each time he seems to be superhuman. First in the battle with Grendel, Beowulf rips of Grendel's arm ultimately killing him, something no other human was able to do. "And defeat, the tears torn out of Grendel's taut throat, hell's captive caught in the arms of him who of all the men on earth was the strongest"(Raffel 52).

In the battle with Grendel's mother, Beowulf is able to lift a sword to kill his mother that only giants are able to lift, "Then he saw, hanging on the wall, a heavy sword, hammered by giants, strong and blessed with their magic, the best of all weapons but so massive that no ordinary man could lift its carved and decorate length. He drew it from its scabbard, broke the chain on its hilt, and then, savage, now, angry and desperate lifted it high over his head and struck with all the strength he had left"(Raffel 59).

Many years later even in his old age Grendel has incredible strength. " 'I am old, now, but i will fight again, seek fame still, if the dragon hiding in his tower dares to face me' "(Raffel 62).

Beowulf defeat many unearthly monsters with his superhuman strength, and for that he is an epic hero.

Super Hero Fasination

Super heroes intrigue us all. All of their incredible abilities fascinate normal humans who wish to be like them. These characters resemble Beowulf because of there super human strength and abilities, they use these abilities to defeat unearthly monsters that normal humans could not defeat.

Works Cited

"HowStuffWorks "Wonder Woman's Special Powers and Weapons""HowStuffWorks. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2014.

"Pirates of the Carribean." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2014.

Raffel, Burton. Beowulf. New York: Signet Classic, 1999. Print.

"Superman." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Sept. 2014. Web. 29 Sept. 2014.