Beowulf and The Dragon

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The name and story of Beowulf is acknowledged by many to be both a great read and story of the hardships and perils of the old Anglo-Saxon era. Just the name Beowulf sparks an interest and immediately brings to mind images of battles and war. Also, Beowulf is a good model example of leadership and bravery that can still be translated into good practices by today’s standards. The fact that the story has lasted over 1,200 years is a testament to the power it holds in enrapturing the mind and the lessons that the legend contains. Critics of all sorts have reviewed Beowulf, but one in particular believes that modern heroism fall into the admiration of the traits wisdom and fortitude. However, the theory is only half correct when applying it to Beowulf, he shows poor wisdom, yet at the same time shows impeccable fortitude.

To begin with, wisdom is a trait often sought after by leaders and people in general. But, what is wisdom? Wisdom really boils down to plain knowledge and experience. Knowledge simply being the quantity of skill in one particular area of expertise often gained when the person is young. Also, classroom studies would fall into this category as well. Experience on the other hand is much different. Experience is gained over time. It is gained with repeated action usually over many years. For example, an emergency room doctor would gain a great deal of experience over many years of working in the high pressure environment. So that when a rare or difficult case came into the hospital that he would be unfazed. He would have so much experience with dealing in intense situations that he would know exactly what to do. Beowulf’s area of expertise would clearly be in battle. Beowulf demonstrates experience in ...

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... (Beowulf 53). However, the critic’s theory stated that a western hero must have both wisdom and fortitude and sadly, Beowulf does not have a sufficient amount of intelligence. Rather than using wisdom to describe Beowulf, bravery is much more descriptive of Beowulf and his actions. When Beowulf goes into Grendel’s lair and the dragon’s fortress all by himself that is extreme bravery, he may be completely nuts to do that but it is awfully brave.

To summarize, the theory that modern heroes are admired by wisdom and fortitude is not applicable to Beowulf since he lacks wisdom. Even though he may obtain great fortitude, at the same time it is impossible to overlook the inanity in some of Beowulf’s actions. An example of his craziness is the battle between Beowulf and the dragon. However, the word bravery is better suited to Beowulf’s actions instead of wisdom.
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