Beowulf a Poem Translated by Seamus Heaney

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The epic poem Beowulf tells the story of a man by the name of Beowulf that goes through events that prove how heroic he is. Throughout the poem, Beowulf endures three battles. In the first, he battles the monster Grendel. In the second, he battles Grendel's mother. In the end he battles an enraged dragon. With each battle, Beowulf finds increasing difficulty in his opponent, but prevails and saves both the Danes and the Geats from all being killed by monsters. In each battle, Beowulf proves that he is worthy of having the title of a hero.
The first battle is between Beowulf and Grendel. Grendel is an isolated monster that terrorized Herot and killed thirty men every night for twelve years because he was bothered by the loud noise of the parties at Herot late at night. When the news travels to Geatland, Beowulf decides to help King Hrothgar rid his people of the monster since the king had helped Beowulf’s father in the past. Beowulf is also the only man who could defeat Grendel. Beowulf is described as: “…There was no one else like him alive. In his day, he was the mightiest man on earth, high-born and powerful…” (Line 196). Beowulf and his men travel to Herot and join in their festivities, and then in the night time, as everyone sleeps, Grendel attacks. Beowulf decides to make it a fair fight and not use any weapons or armor to slay Grendel. Grendel kills many of his men as he first walks in. Beowulf grabs Grendel’s hand and rips his arm completely out of its socket. Unable to fight anymore, Grendel goes back to his lair and dies from the fatal wound. Beowulf uses Grendel’s torn off arm as a trophy and displays it in Herot for all to see and know Grendel is now dead. King Hrothgar and his men then celebrate because Beowulf has br...

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...m Beowulf proves he is a hero through his battles. He’s trophies transform from physical evidence of his opponents defeat to gold and riches. Though this seems selfish, he always gave his riches and rewards from his accomplishments to his people or the king he was working for. Throughout his battles his methods also changed. He started by fighting on fair terms, without weaponry or armor, and then he had full armor and multiple weapons. Beowulf did this because he recognized his limits, especially in his old age where needed the protection and help in order to keep his people safe and continue to be a hero. In a way, he still fought on fair terms because Grendel’s Mother and the dragon were much stronger than he. Beowulf was a selfless warrior who deserved his title of an epic hero.

Works Cited

N.a. Beowulf. Trans. Seamus Heaney. New York: Norton, 2000. Print.

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