Beowulf Essay, Research Paper
“The Fearless Beowulf”
Fear is a painful emotion excited by the expectation of evil. In “Beowulf”, translated by Charles W. Kennedy, fear is not an option, or emotion, nor does it even exist for the hero. The hero, Beowulf, is also given strength equivalent to thirty men. These things are demonstrated in the tale of the most celebrated hero of Anglo-Saxon times, Beowulf. A man, of which people loved and respected throughout the entire region where he lived. He made the people feel that they had someone to rely on through times in which failure seemed unavoidable. Beowulf, from the epic poem “Beowulf”, is an extremely courageous hero and confronts his many difficult battles without fear.
Danger is confronted in every situation Beowulf faced, but he never considered fighting for what he felt was right no matter the cost. Beowulf showed his people that he was the person they could count on in times of trouble. There was a beast named Grendel that terrorizes the kingdom which Hrothgar rules. Beowulf wants to show that he is a hero and he also is fatalistic, which means that he believes in his battles if he dies or not he was meant to; that was his fate. This leads to, along with the fact that a great mead-hall wasn’t being used due to this monster, Beowulf setting foot to rid the Danes of this problem. Beowulf’s first sign of unmatchable courage comes in the fight with Grendel. Grendel is a large monster capable of snatching thirty men with a swoop of a hand. He is a giant whose superhuman strength and size is unmatched. Grendel has no fear whatsoever and he is merciless towards his victims. Beowulf sits awake in the mead-hall waiting for Grendel to strike. He has no fear and believes victory is in his favor. Beowulf’s men lie sleeping around Beowulf. Grendel enters the hall killing when he arrives, “The demon delayed not, but quickly clutched a sleeping thane in his swift assault, tore him to pieces, bit through bones, gulped the blood, and gobbled the flesh, greedily gorged on the lifeless corpse, the hands and feet. Then the fiend step nearer,(558-564).” Beowulf still sat unfrightend by what occurs and waits for the right moment to attack Grendel. He approaches Grendel after the consumption of the man and grabs his arm and begins to crush it with his hand. “His courage fled; but he found no escape! He was fain to be gone; he would flee to the darkness,(571-572).” Beowulf full of rage and anger began to beat this monster with his bare hands. “And Beowulf gained the glory of battle. Grendel, fated, fled to the fens, to his joyless dwelling, sick unto death,(632-634).” Beowulf without fear or hesitation fought this monster and won. This beast had killed many men at a single time, but Beowulf’s courage let him prevail in a situation where fear takes over the hearts of many men.
Beowulf’s next test of courage came when he fought Grendel’s mother in her lair, she like Grendel, has incredible size and strength. Grendel’s mother wants to get revenge for the murder of her son, Grendel. Beowulf jumped in the lake, leading to the lair, going after Grendel’s mother without any thought that would suggest the slightest hint of fear. After swimming in these murky waters Beowulf finds his enemy. “Swift she grappled and grasped the warrior with horrid grip, but could work no harm, no hurt to his body; the ring-locked byrny cloaked his life from her clutching claw; nor could she tear through the tempered mail with her savage fingers. The she-wolf bore the ring-prince down through the watery depths to her den at the bottom,(996-1003).” She was an enormous opponent but Beowulf still had no fear and did not want to run from her. In her lair the fight broke out. Beowulf swung his sword Hrunting, a human made sword, at her only to realize that this could not penetrate her skin. Realizing it would not help in his fight he drops his weapon and begins to fight her with barehands. She tried to bite his head but his once beautiful helmet softened the blow luckily saving his head. She beat him to the ground and prepared to finish this intense battle and emerge the victor. “She knelt upon him and drew her dagger, with broad bright blade, to avenge her son,(1040-1041).” This put Beowulf in a place in where fear would be the only option for all, but not for Beowulf. Then Beowulf saw a Giant’s sword hanging from the wall. This sword was so big no normal man could ever hold and use in battle. He then decapitated her with swift and powerful blow. Beowulf had a fight in which a normal person would have lost, but Beowulf pressed on and won. He didn’t run when his weapon was useless, he stood his ground and fought. A coward would not act in the manner Beowulf did. It takes courage to do what he did, and he did it without considering his own safety.
Beowulf takes part in one more significant battle that tests his courage and ability to fight when necessary. He must do battle with a dragon. This beast is his most vicious of opponents. It is a powerful enemy, stronger than Grendel or his mother, and breathes fire that strengthens his ability to fight. Beowulf brings many soldiers with to this battle so victory would be much easier to achieve. Beowulf’s men desert him on the way to the fight, out of fear. Still this did not phase Beowulf’s intent on pursuing the fight. “Under the stone-cliff; he trusted the strength of his single might. Not so does a coward!,(1510-1511).” This refers to his journey to the fight through the cliffs in order to reach the tower, which is the dragon’s domain. They say no coward could cross these cliffs and only a man of Beowulf’s stature could perform such tasks. Beowulf’s fight with dragon is like a war between giants because of the tremendous strength of both sides. Beowulf begins to falter in his fight with dragon and receives wound in which no normal human could bare, “Enveloped in flame the folk-leader suffered a sore distress,(1553-1554).” This would be reason enough for someone to retreat from battle, but not Beowulf. His courage was unaffected by this, and he staggered on. The only one brave enough to follow behind their courageous king was Wiglaf. With his help Beowulf was able to defeat dragon. After this long battle Beowulf lay dead like the dragon but he achieved his goal. In this process he sacrificed his life which is the most ultimate sign of courage.
This epic poem was written about a hero named Beowulf. This man showed the true abilities that are of a hero. He faces death in several situations and he is not fearful in any. He knows no meaning of fear. He goes into a situation believing in himself, no matter the who the opponent is, that he will seize the day. The courageous manor he portrays is a sign of a genuine hero . He never turned his back because he was courageous and knew that what he was fighting for was right. He shows at the end that no matter the cost, or the opponent, he is courageous enough to risk his life for the greater; which is why he is the most celebrated hero of Anglo-Saxon times.