Beowulf Deserving Of Honor Essay

2348 words - 9 pages

One’s outcome and outlook on life are determined by the many decisions that one must make throughout their lifetime. In the epic of Beowulf, the reader is introduced to a man, named Beowulf, who is later crowned as King of the Geats, reigning for fifty years. Throughout the poem, Beowulf seems to exhibit characteristics, long before he is King, that lead the reader to believe Beowulf will be a successful and impressionable king. Beowulf displays four key characteristics, courage, strength, knowledge, and respect/trust, which are extremely important to the plot, as well as for the life of the Geats, the Danes, and Beowulf’s true identity. From the beginning, Beowulf is viewed as the epitome of a true hero. He may have been somewhat selfish at times and boast about his achievements, but when it really mattered he is there for his people. These traits truly expose the heroic king he becomes.
The courage and bravery that the character of Beowulf exemplifies throughout the epic, demonstrates reasons as to why he would reign as a strong king as time goes on. The reader learns quickly how important the act of being courageous is to the epic of Beowulf, as it is made clear in the first lines of the epic, stating, “So. The Spear-Danes in days gone by / and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness. / We have heard of those princes’ heroic campaigns” (34. 1-3). The first few lines of Beowulf immediately use the act of courage as the definitive form of greatness. The Danes will be celebrated because of their bravery and heroism before anything else. When Grendel attacks the Danes, their land is described as desolate, after being pillaged; “So Grendel ruled in defiance of right, one against all, until the greatest house in the world stood empty, a deserted wallstead” (37. 144-146). When Beowulf hears about Grendel’s attacks he is quick to think of the people in Geatland, and wants to use his strength and power to attempt revenge. Immediately, Beowulf orders for boats to be brought and announces to his men what they will do once they arrive on the Danish shore. Beowulf’s courageousness truly shines through at this moment, as he forgets any fears he may have and focuses solely on protecting the Danes. Not thinking twice, Beowulf gathers his troops and sets out to defeat Grendel. When Beowulf arrives, he is welcomed with open arms and the Danes begin to see his special and unique qualities. One of the watchmen cries out in awe, “Nor have I seen a mightier man-at-arms on this earth than the one standing here: unless I am mistaken, he is truly noble” (39. 247-250). Not only does this show his true brave deeds in the eyes of the Danes, but the people of the land begin to see him as a role model, as well.
In many instances in the poem, Beowulf shares his view on courage, as well as its importance. Beowulf claims that, “Often, for undaunted courage, fate spares the man it has not already marked” (45. 572-573). Beowulf makes this comment early in...

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