Throughout life a man makes many descions which determine the way his life will be lived and the way it will end. All choices a man makes in his life have consequences and each man must account for them. In life, every man must reap what he has sown. The values a man holds to be important in his life govern the choices he makes. The epic Beowulf is a good example of this truth. In the story, Beowulf is a god-like human who possesses a strength and warrior spirit unmatched by anyone. The choices he has made resulted in this power and it is also those same choices that play a part in his end.
In Beowulf's adventurous life he undertakes challenges that normal men cannot even conceive of engaging. He lived by honor and glory and sought them in everything he did. The greatest honor to him was to die in a valiant battle; therefore he was fearless and fought with ferociousness, not caring if he lives or dies. Knowledge of his past conquests had been spread throughout the land and people revered him everywhere. This great success in battle won him great honor and also made him very confident. Beowulf readily boasted of his victories:
Fame-winning deeds/ have come early to my hands. The affair of Grendel/ has been made known to me on my native turf./ The sailors speak of this splendid hall,/ this most stately building, standing idle/ and
silent of voices, as soon as the evening light/ has hidden below the heaven's bright edge./ Whereupon it was urged by the ablest men/ among our people, men proved in counsel,/ that I should seek you out, most sovereign Hrothgar./ These men knew well the weight of my hands./ Had they not seen me come home from fights/...
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...fend off death. The spirit of warriors grew its roots deep into his soul. His values of honor and valor would not let him die a peaceful death; no he would die in battle. Beowulf knew he would die in the midst of battle the day he chose to be a warrior. To die in battle was the greatest honor that he could
achieve. He lived by the warrior's code and died by it. When he chose to be a warrior it was a choice that he would live with for the rest of his life. It was also the choice that would determine his end.
Beowulf. Literature in Context : Classicism, Middle Ages, and Renaissance.
VOL1 Ed. Gerald Wood et al. Boston Pearson 2003 . 63-195
Beowulf Wikipedia . Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 1 March 2007