Beowulf Essays

Beowulf Essays-66
Beowulf is courageous and famous for his performance in battle but equally well known for his good deeds.

Beowulf is courageous and famous for his performance in battle but equally well known for his good deeds.Although aggressive in war, Beowulf has "no savage mind" (2180) and never kills his comrades when drinking, an important quality in the heroic world of the mead-hall.From the beginning, Beowulf is rightly concerned about how the rest of the world will see him.

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When the hero returns to Geatland, he continues his loyalty to his uncle and king, Hygelac, risking his life even when the tactics of the ruler are not the best.

After Hygelac is killed in an ill-advised raid on Frisia, Beowulf makes a heroic escape (2359 ff.) back to Geatland.

Preparing for his last battle, with the fiery dragon, Beowulf puts his trust in 11 of his finest men, retainers who have vowed to fight to the death for him.

Although the now elderly king insists on taking on the dragon alone, he brings along the 11 in case he needs them.

Reputation is also the single quality that endures after death, his one key to immortality.

That's why Beowulf later leaves the gold in the cave beneath the mere, after defeating the mother, preferring to return with Grendel's head and the magic sword's hilt rather than treasure.Beowulf could become king then but is more loyal than ambitious.Queen Hygd offers Beowulf the throne after her husband dies, thinking that her young son (Heardred) is unable to protect the kingdom; Beowulf refuses and serves the young king faithfully.One of the central themes of Beowulf, embodied by its title character, is loyalty.At every step of his career, loyalty is Beowulf's guiding virtue.After Heardred is killed, Beowulf does become king and rules with honor and fidelity to his office and his people for 50 years.In his final test, the burden of loyalty will rest on other, younger shoulders.He points out that he swam with Breca for five nights, not wanting to abandon the weaker boy.Rough seas then drove them apart, and Beowulf had to kill nine sea monsters before going ashore in the morning.However, we soon learn that a major motivation is a family debt that Beowulf owes to Hrothgar.The young Geat is devoted to the old king because Hrothgar came to the assistance of Beowulf's father, Ecgtheow, years before.


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