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Beowulf A Great Leader Essay

Satisfactory Essays
Caitlin Kruckenberg
January 3, 2014

Beowulf: A Great Leader
Literature is found in all parts of the world, whether written or oral, and boasts the cultural differences of each area. No matter how different each of the stories is they all have one thing in common: a great leader. Each culture may have slightly different standards of a great leader, but there are a few indispensible traits that make up every leader no matter how big or how small. The story of Beowulf, the fearless warrior, is a fine example of what a great leader is made up of.
The first characteristic of a great leader that Beowulf portrays is confidence in the right things. When Beowulf was a young warrior he was boastful in his unmatched strength, but he was also boastful in something more important: his faith in God.
“They have seen my strength for themselves/ have watched me rise from the darkness of war/ dripping with my enemies’ blood…my hands/ alone shall fight for me, struggle for life/ against the monster. God must decide/ who will be given to death’s cold grip”(36-37).
This passage, spoken by Beowulf himself, illustrates not only his confidence in himself, but also in God. He knows that he is strong, but he also knows that it is God who really grants victory. He must be in good graces with God in order to win his battle. He knows that he cannot survive without God’s approval.
This gratitude towards God is also shown in the final moments of his life. Beowulf thanks God for the life he was allowed to lead, and for all the battles that he won because of the grace of God. “For this, this Gold, these jewels, I thank/ Our Father in Heaven, Ruler of the Earth/ for all of this that his grace has given me”(109). This humble attitude is a great asset for a leade...

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...fight the dragon. Beowulf understood that the key to being a great leader was selflessness, which is also why he chose Wiglaf, son of Wexstan, to be his successor. In Beowulf’s time of greatest need Wiglaf was the only selfless warrior that came to Beowulf’s aid. Even in death, Beowulf understood all the qualities of a great leader and saw them in Wiglaf.
There is no question that Beowulf was a great leader. His fearlessness, selflessness, and faith in God all aided in shaping him into the great warrior and the great king that he was. Ancient civilizations and modern populations alike should all strive to live their lives in accordance with the characteristics of a great leader that Beowulf demonstrated, no matter where they come from or who they are.

Works Cited
Baskin, Leonard. Beowulf. Trans. Burton Raffel. Amherst: University of Massachusetts, 1971. Print.
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