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An Ego Of Kingly Proportions Essay

1889 words - 8 pages

Andrew Mathieson
Dorene O’Brien
World Literature
An Ego of Kingly Proportions
The Epic poem of Beowulf is a story of heroism, loyalty, ego, and fate. To be a great leader of men; a great king of the people, you must be respected and trusted. Loyalty is given to those who earn the respect and trust of their people. Beowulf was blessed with great physical strength, the pride and fearlessness of a warrior, and an equally strong command of the spoken word, which he used skillfully to his advantage. He gained the respect and trust of nearly everyone he came in contact with, largely because he possessed the characteristics of a true hero, but in the end it was his ego that sealed his fate. Although it could be said that Beowulf’s character was flawed by an enormous ego, fueled by thoughts of immortality, it is this very trait that made him an ideal hero and king.
To be considered an ideal hero, you must be willing to risk everything to succeed. A hero is one who would give his own life to save another; one who is fearless in the face of death. In the epic poem Beowulf, our hero thrives on the opportunity to prove his worth. He is young and strong and is driven to make a name for himself. The author describes Beowulf’s exceptional ability and warrior character long before he is named in the poem: "Great among Geats, this man was more mighty than any then living" (Damrosch 913). Shortly after Beowulf arrives in Denmark, Wulfgar, one of King Hrothgar’s men, explains to the King why he must meet with the men that have come to slay the beast. ”Far-sailing Geats have come to our kingdom across the wide water. These warriors call their leader Beowulf and bid me bring their plea to our prince, if it pleases him to allow them entrance and offer them audience. I implore you to hear them, princely Hrothgar, for I deem them worthy of wearing their armor and treating with earls. Truly the elder who led them hither is a lord of some stature” (Damrosch 917). Beowulf searched for every opportunity to prove he is a champion, whatever the price, and to increase his chance for glory. He really was not concerned for danger but, instead he believed in the challenge and would not perish until it was his time. "Whomever death takes, his doom is doubtless decreed by the Lord. If I let the creature best me when battle begins in this building, he will freely feast as he often has fed on men of much mettle” (Damrosch 918). His words often conveyed his lust for the fame awarded to those who heroically succeeded against great odds. At one point in the story Beowulf proclaims that he will fight Grendel, the horrible monster, using only his bare hands. Even though he knew that every man must eventually die, he drew strength and conviction from the belief that he could be immortal until his fate was determined. After Aeschere was killed and carried off by Grendel’s mother, Beowulf spoke: “”Grieve not, good man. It is better to go and avenge your friend...

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