Tips for writing epic hero essay

Epic Hero Essay
Title: Beowulf
Author: unknown Anglo-Saxon poet
Translator: Burton Raffel
Genre: epic poem
Prompt: Justify why Beowulf is an epic hero and analyze what this reveals about Anglo-Saxon culture. You are
proving/arguing that Beowulf fits the definition of an epic hero based on the four traits of an epic hero outlined in
your notes.
1. The hero is generally a male of noble descent and/or high position. He is usually of great historical or
legendary importance.
2. The hero’s character traits represent important morals/values of society.
3. The hero performs courageous deeds.
4. The hero’s actions often determine the fate of a nation of people.
Thesis: Your thesis should preview the reasons Beowulf is an epic hero (which you will discuss in your body
paragraphs) AND offer some deeper insight (the “so what”) about what this reveals about Anglo-Saxon culture.
Basic template for thesis: Beowulf is an epic hero because _______; this reveals _______ about AngloSaxon culture.
Citations of textual evidence: Use backslashes to indicate the end of a line of poetry. Capitalize the beginning of
the next line. Cite the translator’s last name and the line numbers in parentheses after the textual evidence. Use
single quotation marks around dialogue (when a character is speaking).
Example: “And when Beowulf had bowed to his lord, / And standing in front of the throne had solemnly
/ Spoken loyal words, Higlac / Ordered him to sit at his side” (Raffel 1974-1978).
You need at least two pieces of textual evidence per body paragraph.
Sentence variety:
Use at least three different types of sentence openers in your essay.
 -ly/adverb
 -ing/present participle
 -ed/past participle
 to + infinitive
 prepositional phrase
Use a few appositive phrases.
 Hrothgar, the venerable Danish king, desperately needs Beowulf’s help.
 The Danes’ affliction, Grendel, relentlessly attacks Herot for twelve years.
 It is evident that Anglo-Saxons, a culture that valued loyalty, expected allegiance to the king.
Use several compound sentences.
 Semi colon
Beowulf refuses to put his fellow Geats in harm’s way to combat the dragon; however, they fail to have the
same concern for his well-being.
Anglo-Saxons’s lives were ruled by warfare; this is evident in the value they place on their weapons and
 Comma and conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so)
The battle with Grendel is the first of Beowulf’s deeds of extreme valor, and he exhibits courage again when
facing Grendel’s mother.