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 wo...
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...Beowulf will forever be remembered.
Beowulf, who initially is a prideful, young hero, matures into a respected king who shows respect and loyalty to his people. Before Beowulf reigns as king, there are important characteristics that he exemplifies that lead one to believe his true nobility and future as a renowned King of the Geats. Beowulf is courageous, strong, knowledgeable, and respectful of his people. These characteristics contribute to Beowulf’s classification as a true epic hero. Beowulf’s efforts confirm his promise to the Danes. Determined to help his people, overcome obstacles, and lead his land to victory, Beowulf keeps his word; making him completely deserving of honor.
Beowulf. Seamus Heaney. The Norton Anthology English Literature. 8th ed. Stephen Greenblatt.
New York, London. W.W. Norton & Company, 2006. 29-100.