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Poem Discussion: Beowulf

Beowulf is an Old English epic poem that dates back to the 6th century, about 1500 years ago. The poem can be traced back between 975 and 1025 when the tribe of Anglo-Saxons started migrating to England. The poem compiles events in historical and fictional elements of different legends in Anglo-Saxon. Therefore, scholars and historians named the poem after the main character Beowulf. However, Beowulf faces three major battles throughout the poem: Grendel, a giant monster who terrorizes Hrothgar, the king of Heorot, and the men in the city by killing and eating people for more than a decade. When Beowulf hears about Heorot’s trouble, he sets out on the journey from Geatland accompanied by14 trained men to o and assist Hrothgar in fighting Grendel. The second battle Beowulf faces is that of Grendel’s mother, a witch who hears about her son’s death and launches a fight for revenge. The third battle Beowulf faces is that of a fire-breathing dragon, angry because of the stolen goblet treasure. The dragon storms the city of Geatland, torching houses and killing innocent inhabitants. When Beowulf faces battle in his life, he uses the following character traits to overcome the monsters: bravery, loyalty, and diligence.

Beowulf shows bravery when he fights against Grendel in Heorot with no weapons. The first battle that Beowful faces are against a giant monster who had terrorized Hrothgar and his warriors. When everyone is asleep, Grendel comes to Heorot; he attacks and kills one of the Beowful men. Then Grendel attempts to kill and eat Beowful. However, he cannot manage. Instead, Beowulf grabs Grendel’s arm, equal to the mighty of 30 men, and rips off his shoulder and body; after Grendel is badly injured, he flees away. Beowulf is praised for his power by all men, and he hangs Grendel’s arm off the ceiling in the glory of his might.

Additionally, after the death of Grendel, her mother vows to avenge her son, where she comes to Hrothgar and finds everyone asleep after celebrating the end of Grendel. Grendel’s mother seizes one of the Hrothgar’s men and flees away with him. When Beowulf and Hrothgar men woke up, they found that one of the Hrothgar men, Aeschere, had been kidnapped. Beowulf portrays his bravery by going after Grendel’s mother for kidnapping Aeschere. He follows Grendel’s mother to the deep dark cave where he finds her. Beowulf launches a fight with Grendel’s mother, who is believed to be a water witch, where he attacks her with the sword made by the legendary smith Weland. To sum up, Beowulf shows his bravery by doing the unimaginable, like fighting the monster which killed people in 12 years and killing Grendel’s mother, who was believed to be a water witch.

Additionally, Beowulf portrays his loyalty when he sets out on the journey along with his 14 men to go and help King Hrothgar. Beowulf hears about the monster who has been terrorizing, killing, and eating people for the past 12 years. When he arrives in the Danes, he promises the king to help him fight against the monster. Loyalty remains one of his outstanding character traits. He promises to return the support his father, Ecgtheow, was given by king Hrothgar when he decides to help the king fight against Grendel. Beowulf also shows loyalty to Wealhtheow, the wife of king Hrothgar, when he tells her that he is determined to wage war against Grendel and defeat him even if it costs his life. Beowulf is indicating to Wealhtheow that he is loyal to the end. Beowulf says, ”And I shall accomplish my mission here in mead-hall and prove myself even if it will cause me to die” (, 2019). Therefore, Beowulf proves himself to be a loyal person by returning the help his father was given by Hrothgar when he helped him fight and kill the monster, Grendel.

Beowulf demonstrates his diligence when he fights Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the fire-breathing dragon. Beowulf proves himself that he is a persistent person who makes an effort to defend the kingdom. He shows this when he gathers a group of eleven bravest warriors with the thief who knows where the fire-breathing dragon lives. Beowulf and his men decide to stage a war against the beast. However, all of Beowulf’s men ran away, leaving him to fight alone with the dragon. Although Beowulf lost the fight after sustaining injuries and countless wounds, he did not give up the fight. In summary, Beowulf is a diligent person who fights until the end, even when the challenge is insurmountable.

In conclusion, bravery, loyalty, and diligence prove Beowulf to be a person of character. He defeats Grendel, the monster that had killed people in Danes for over a decade. Beowulf defeats the monster with his bare hands without any weapon. Grendel’s mother, believed to be a water witch, decides to avenge her son, but Beowulf defeats her with a sword leaving her dead. In addition, Beowulf stages a war with the fire-breathing monster that leaves him with injuries and wounds. The poem paints a picture of determination and resilience that we can borrow and incorporate into our lives to overcome any challenges that come our way, just as Beowulf overcame.

Works Cited

Loyalty in Beowulf – Video & Lesson Transcript | (2019).


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