In epics, the main character is usually a hero. This is a person who expresses courage and superhuman strength. These people are recognized as the epitome of all people in this time. In Anglo-Saxon literature the role of a hero is to protect good.
There were many great pieces of literature during Anglo-Saxon times. Perhaps one of the best was Beowolf. In this story the main character is Beowolf, a man who protects the Herot from a terrible monster, and later on in his life protects his own castle. Beowolf is a hero who represents good in this story.
During Beowolfs time people spoke very highly of heroes. An example from the story of Beowolf protecting good is when the king is speaking of him. He says of Beowolf, «Until that curving prow carries/Across the sea to Geatland a chosen/warrior who bravely does battle with the/creature haunting our people, who survives/that horror unhurt, and goes home bearing/our love.»(208-212) The king speaks of Beowolf as a great hero and hopes that he will be able to defeat Grendel, the monster that has been terrorizing Herot.
Before his confrontation with Grendel, he did many other things to assist his people. An example of him doing this is when he speaks of himself killing the giants and wiping them off the earth. He says, «They have seen my strength for themselves,/have watched me rise from the darkness/of war, dripping of my enemies' blood/I drove five great giants into chairs, chased/all of that race from the Earth.» (246-250) Beowolf proves his strength to others and to himself.
In his fight with Grendels' mother Beowolf proves many things. An example of Beowolfs heroism is when he is battling her. «That mighty protector of men/meant to hold the monster 'till its life/leaped out...» (366-367) Beowolf is described as the «protector» of his people and proves this by defeating Grendels' mother. She had recently killed a close friend of the king in defiance to the slaying of her son. To prevent further killing, Beowolf went to an arena under a lake and destroyed her.
Later on in his life he kills a fire-breathing dragon because he wants to protect his kingdom. He was king for over 40 years and had done all he could to protect his kingdom.
Beowolfs best asset is his strength. He uses his superhuman power to defeat any monster that stands in his way. He also possesses great courage, which allows him to face great dangers and peril, where other warriors would turn and go the other way.
The reasons for Beowolf helping his people are simple, fame and fortune. Grendel is loved by his people and collects great treasures from his battles. However, Beowolf is most admired because he is a hero and protects anyone in need. That is why Beowolf represents the hero portrayed in epics, as well as Anglo-Saxon literature, very well.
In the beautiful town of Ventaria, which is located near the southern-most point of Ireland, a once proud colony of people enjoyed the magnificent surroundings and a simplistic life. Brian the Great, beloved ruler of the Ventarians, had been killed by the evil Filth-Sammich. This vile creature, with a crocodile-like build, had a head larger than the immense church in the center of the town. When fully-opened, the mouth of the Filth-Sammich could open wide enough to fit a large tree. It's powerful jaw and razor sharp teeth were feared by all that knew about it. The beasts' torso looked large enough to contain the entire population of Ventaria, and still have room for an elephant or two. Finally, the tail of the Filth-Sammich was so long and powerful, it could wrap around and crush the massive castle of Brian the Great. Although Ventaria no longer had a ruler, fear of the Filth-Sammich kept the locals in line. In order to keep their town, the people had to bring food to the creature, as soon as it was available. They also had to give him all their precious valuables. The Filth-Sammich allowed the Ventarians to eat enough to stay healthy, but nothing more. Before the Filth-Sammich arrived, the people were loyal and faithfully devoted to their respected ruler. The monster lived in a gigantic cave which was a ten-minute walk to the edge of town. It was rumored that when the Filth-Sammich swallowed you, you were slowly digested over a week or two. The beast also made it clear that it had powers beyond the forces of nature that allowed him to mentally witness the actions of anyone within the borders of Ventaria simply by thinking about it. With this in mind, townspeople were obedient and compliant towards the wishes and demands of the Filth-Sammich.
Warriors that were still loyal to their deceased king, had developed a secret signal that the Filth-Sammich didn't pay any attention to. When a warrior asked another about his harvest for the Filth-Sammich, it meant that there was a meeting in the abandoned farmhouse on outside town limits that night. Here, the monster could not detect or observe. When these meetings were held, the soldiers would relax and speak of rebellion against the Filth-Sammich. Drinking and socializing took place in this farmhouse, giving the men a sense of security. They would talk about how they could slay the mighty monstrosity evil-eradicators. One soldier in named Urther announced that he could defeat this terrible fiend. Although Urther was the strongest and most skilled warrior in the group, his comrades were skeptical. So, Urther told them that he was going to go slay the beast, proving his worth. The other warriors made futile attempts to convince him not to, but he was determined. So, Urther's fellow soldiers gave him the finest equipment they had. They gave him the strongest armor, a superior helmet, and finally, the sword of Brian the Great. With this, Urther set out to achieve an inconceivable task. He knew that his odds were stacked, but, with a fearless and determined state of mind, he made the trek to the cave of the Filth-Sammich. He knew that when he defeated the monster, he would be known as the greatest of all warriors.
When he reached the cave, he snuck behind the beast while he was admiring and sorting the riches it had taken from the Ventarians. What Urther had forgotten, was that the Filth-Sammich could see him now that he was in town limits. With amazing speed, the creature spun around and swung its tail at Urther. Urther was not ready for this, and the Filth-Sammich's tail knocked the sword out of his hand, while at the same time breaking his leg. Urther tried to fight the huge monster, but he was in quite a predicament. The beast picked up the brave warrior and flung him into his enormous mouth. Quickly, Urther grabbed hold of the monsters tongue and held on for dear life. Flying back and forth, the Filth-Sammich tried to fling Urther from his tongue, but Urther's grip was holding. Urther kept hitting some hard object at the back of the creatures throat. He realized that this was the beast's spinal cord. With an overwhelming feeling of determination and confidence, Urther punched at this bone structure with every ounce of strength in him. A shattering noise sounded throughout the cave as the cord was severed. The Filth-Sammich let out a scream that was heard miles away. With a broken leg and bloody fist, Urther managed to free himself from the mouth of the dead monster. He got the sword of the king and painfully crawled his way back to town where his victory was celebrated. The astonished Ventarians unanimously appointed him king. The story of Urther and the Filth-Sammich circulated around the world; giving Urther the glory he worked so hard to achieve.