Beowulf And The Dragon Essay

1162 words - 5 pages

The name and story of Beowulf is acknowledged by many to be both a great read and story of the hardships and perils of the old Anglo-Saxon era. Just the name Beowulf sparks an interest and immediately brings to mind images of battles and war. Also, Beowulf is a good model example of leadership and bravery that can still be translated into good practices by today’s standards. The fact that the story has lasted over 1,200 years is a testament to the power it holds in enrapturing the mind and the lessons that the legend contains. Critics of all sorts have reviewed Beowulf, but one in particular believes that modern heroism fall into the admiration of the traits wisdom and fortitude. However, the theory is only half correct when applying it to Beowulf, he shows poor wisdom, yet at the same time shows impeccable fortitude.
To begin with, wisdom is a trait often sought after by leaders and people in general. But, what is wisdom? Wisdom really boils down to plain knowledge and experience. Knowledge simply being the quantity of skill in one particular area of expertise often gained when the person is young. Also, classroom studies would fall into this category as well. Experience on the other hand is much different. Experience is gained over time. It is gained with repeated action usually over many years. For example, an emergency room doctor would gain a great deal of experience over many years of working in the high pressure environment. So that when a rare or difficult case came into the hospital that he would be unfazed. He would have so much experience with dealing in intense situations that he would know exactly what to do. Beowulf’s area of expertise would clearly be in battle. Beowulf demonstrates experience in battle on a few occasions. When Beowulf goes to fight Grendel’s mother, he does not take all of his men with him (Beowulf 52). Beowulf learned from the battle with Grendel that he does not really need the help of his men, since he wants all of the glory and because their words are useless. Now that he knows this, he does not wish to endanger the lives of his men for no purpose, so he goes into the lake by himself. Again, Beowulf shows experience during the fight with the Water Hag. He becomes conscious of the fact that normal weapons will not harm her so he drops his blade and immediately starts wrestling her (Beowulf 53). The intelligent part comes when Beowulf finds the giant sword. Since he is aware now that normal weapons do not aid him in killing her, Beowulf goes to the magic sword. This is a very quick and intelligent move that ended the battle with the horrendous Water Hag.
In addition, fortitude is a trait best broken down into mental strength and physical strength. Mental strength is the ability to persevere through even the most intricate and painful tasks. The quote “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” said by Joseph P. Kennedy, is perfect for this scenario. In this quote, it...

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