Beowulf, the great Geatish warrior, lives a very adventurous life filled with many voyages, battles, and victories. Through all of these events, he meets various people who are considered to be heroes like himself. These heroes, however, are unable to have the same abilities and characteristics of Beowulf. His great achievements cannot be matched by anything that they have done in their lives. Beowulf is a superior hero to Hrothgar, Unferth, and Wiglaf in the epic of Beowulf because he kills every monster that he fights, becomes a widely feared warrior and king, and dies in battle completing his final heroic act.
Beowulf is superior to Hrothgar, Unferth, and Wiglaf because he kills every monster that he faces. When Herot was ravaged by Grendel and his mother, Hrothgar lacked both the strength and the courage to defend his people. Hrothgar was hindered by his old age and lacked the vitality of his youth that would have made him capable of slaying the monsters. However, when Beowulf grows old and becomes king, he is not affected by the factor of old age. Beowulf’s kingdom is attacked by a great dragon just like Hrothgars kingdom was attacked by Grendel.
The difference is that Beowulf in his old age still had the strength and courage, unlike Hrothgar, to protect his kingdom. Unferth was considered to be the hero of Herot, but yet when monsters attacked the people that he was suppost to protect, he did nothing to stop it. Grendels reign of terror started many years before Beowulf came, so Unferth had plenty of time to at least make an attempt at stopping him. But because of Unferths lack of action, Beowulf has to take on the task of slaying Grendel. By killing Grendel and his mother, Beowulf succeeds where Unferth has failed.
Wiglaf and Beowulf both fought the dragon, but Beowulf is the one who actually killed it. Wiglaf was in full strength and was unhurt but all that he could do was stab the dragon. Beowulf, however, was badly wounded, but still managed to provide the fatal slice to kill the dragon. Hrothgar, Unferth, and Wiglaf all relied on Beowulf to kill the monsters that they could not kill themselves. This makes Beowulf superior to them because he obtained the strength, courage, and will that they all lacked. Beowulf is superior to Hrothgar, Unferth, and Wiglaf because he becomes a widely feared warrior and king.
Hrothgar was known to be a great warrior and king, but he still was unable to stop Grendel from killing his people. Beowulf was a greater warrior than Hrothgar because he killed Grendel. Beowulf was a greater king than Hrothgar because he killed the dragon and protected his people. Beowulf was also a greater warrior then Unferth because Unferth never made any attempt to kill Grendel. Beowulf is also superior to Unferth because he became a king and Unferth is never mentioned to. When Wiglaf became king after Beowulf died, the Geats were all deeply saddened because they knew that their enemies would now attack them.
The enemies of the Geats were afraid of Beowulf, so they never dared to attack him. But now that he was dead and Wiglaf was king, they had no reason to fear. The enemies of the Geats are not afraid of Wiglaf and this shows how Beowulf is a greater king than Wiglaf. Beowulf is superior to Hrothgar, Unferth, and Wiglaf because he dies in battle completing his final heroic act. The way that a hero dies is very influential on how people remember him. When a hero dies in battle, this is considered to be the greatest, most honorable death a person can die. So the fact that Beowulf dies in battle makes him superior to Hrothgar.
Hrothgar and Beowulf both lived great lives and were both known for having great accomplishments, but Hrothgar only died of old age. Beowulf’s death is more sacrificial and heroic and accordingly is greater than Hrothgars. From studying Unferths character it can be seen that he does not have the courage to engage in a battle where he thinks he might die. When Grendel attacked, Unferth did not want to risk his life to save the people. Unferth is to scared to risk his life in battle, he does not obtain the ability to die an equal death to that of Beowulf’s.
However, when we look at Wiglaf’s character, he does show characteristics of being able to die a great death like Beowulf. Wiglaf willingly risks his life to help his king and is not afraid death. But in the end, after the dragon is dead and the battle is over, he is still alive and Beowulf is dead. Since Beowulf died and Wiglaf is left alive, Beowulf is seen to be superior because he has made the ultimate sacrifice for victory, his life. Beowulf is a superior hero when compared to Hrothgar, Unferth, and Wiglaf because he kills every monster that they fail to kill.
He is a superior hero because as a warrior and king, he accomplishes more than any of the other heroes and is feared by his enemies to the extent that they do not even dare to attack. He is a superior hero also because he dies in the most heroic way possible. In his death he paid the ultimate price for victory and none of the other heroes do the same. Beowulf is the superior hero because he conquered every challenge in his life and if the challenge was to big for him to conquer, he gave his life for it.