The Courage Of Beowolf Essay, Research Paper
The courage of the great Beowulf
Lived, no prince so mild, no man
So open to his people, so deserving of praise. (lines 868-869)
Beowulf is a book about a hero, a hero of Anglo-Saxon times. Anglo-Saxon time was a time of war and fighting between religious cultures. Through all of this came an epic about a hero named Beowulf. Throughout this poem Beowulf shows courage everywhere. Beowulf s conquers over his three enemies in this book, show the courage he had throughout his battles.
In Beowulf s battle with Grendel his courage was reflected in his actions. Grendel first attacked an unarmed soldier who was sleeping. Beowulf was the next man to be attacked by Grendel. As soon as Grendel grabbed Beowulf though, Beowulf s courage was shown.
Then he stepped to another
Still body, clutched at Beowulf with his claws,
Grasped at a strong-hearted wakeful sleeper
And was instantly seized himself, claws
Bent back as Beowulf leaned up on one arm. (lines 320-324)
He quickly broke free of Grendel, and with the sheer strength Beowulf showed, Grendel s first thought was to flee.
Grendel s one thought was to run
From Beowulf, flee back to his marsh and hide there: (lines 330-331)
Beowulf then quickly grabbed Grendel holding him ever so tightly. Even though men were beating at Grendel, they had no effect on him like Beowulf did. Grendel was now fighting for his life and he knew it. Grendel with all his might tried to defeat Beowulf, but couldn t because of the courage and strength shown by Beowulf. Beowulf with no weapon but his bare hands and no armor but the clothes he happened to be wearing that day defeated Grendel. Beowulf defeated Grendel not for pleasure but to protect everyone from the terrible being.
That mighty protector of men
Meant to hold the monster till its life
Leaped out, knowing the find was no use
To anyone in Denmark. (lines 365-368)
Beowulf did not kill Grendel though, showing honor he let Grendel go without killing him.
Throughout Beowulf s battle with Grendel s mother, courage was presented and reflected through his thoughts. Beowulf heard of a female monster that was gruesome and dangerous. After seeing this great beast people asked Beowulf once again to save them from this terrible monster. Beowulf, not knowing if he would return or not, courageously excepted the challenge. Beowulf then takes off over the lake to battle with Grendel s mother. As soon as he arrives, she swings with her claws at Beowulf, This time Beowulf with a weapon and armor, and punctures Beowulf s armor.
From above had come to explore the bottom
Of her wet world. She welcomed him in her claws,
Clutched at him savagely but could not harm him,
Tried to work her fingers through the tight
Ring-woven mail on his breast, but tore
And scratched in vain. (lines 474-479)
She then carries the oversized Beowulf to her home. When they arrive, Beowulf realizes,
That she d brought him into someone s battle-hall,
And there the water s heat could not hurt him (lines 486-487)
Beowulf with all of his strength took his sword, Hrunting, and tried to slice at Grendel s mother. The sword did not have the effect he planned; it actually had no effect on her. Beowulf tried to think of someway of defeat her. So, Beowulf throws down the sword and fights her hand to hand.
His arms and seized her by the shoulder; anger
Doubled his strength, he threw her to the floor. (lines 509-511)
By thinking of the anger he possessed, he doubled his strength. Courageously Beowulf grabbed the shoulder of Grendel s mother and threw her to the floor with ease. She arose quickly and hit Beowulf with her mighty claws and threw him to the ground. Stabbing with her dagger, Grendel s mother could not penetrate the armor of Beowulf. Beowulf quickly gets up not knowing what to do and spots a heavy sword. Beowulf takes the sword and swipes with it at her, killing her instantly. When Beowulf returned, the return came with fame and fortune and a peaceful kingdom for Beowulf to rule over for fifty years.
The ultimate act of courage was presented when Beowulf, at his old age, went after the fierce dragon menacing his kingdom. Beowulf showing confidence before he left to go battle he says,
I ve never known fear, as a youth I fought
In endless battles. I am old, now,
But I will fight again, seek fame still,
If the dragon hiding in his tower dares
To face me. (line 624-628)
With this courage and confidence Beowulf set off to look for the Dragon. Beowulf knows there is no one else in the world that could defeat this dragon, so he knows he has to save his kingdom.
What I mean to, here, no man but me
Could hope to defeat this monster. No one
Could try. And this dragon s treasure, his gold
And everything hidden in that tower, will be mine
Or war will sweep me to a bitter death! (lines 645-649)
Beowulf finds the dragon in his lair, draws his sword and puts up his shield. The dragon mad that a man has disturbed him wakes and attacks Beowulf with fire from his mouth. Beowulf quickly uses his shield for defense, but after a few fire breaths from the dragon the dragon melts the shield and penetrates Beowulf s armor. Beowulf knowing he has finally met his match in battle attacks with all his might but Hrunting fails and breaks, with only minor damage to the dragon.
But he raised his sword
And struck at the dragon s scaly hide.
The ancient blade broke, bit into
The monster s skin drew blood, but cracked
And failed him before it went deep enough, (lines 687-691)
The dragon, damaged a little now, leaps forward, breathing more and more fire at Beowulf. The men with Beowulf seeing this, ran, but not all of them. One man, Wiglaf, stayed to help Beowulf. With his sword, armor, and the help of Beowulf finally defeat the dragon. Beowulf slowly dying asks Wiglaf to take his position as the protector of men.
Beowulf s courage in the three battles helped him defeat his enemies. Without the courage he showed throughout his battles he would not have been able to defeat them. Beowulf s courage in these battles was also the confidence that he was going to win his battles. Because of the courage of Beowulf, he was the greatest hero of his time.