Epic of Beowulf Essay - Symbols and Symbolism of Battle

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Symbolism of Battle in Beowulf Beowulf Authors often use events and things to symbolize stages in someone's life. Symbolism is the practice of representing things by means of symbols or of attributing meaning of significance to objects, events, or relationships. In the anonymous epic, Beowulf, Beowulf fights Grendel, the monsters of the ocean and Grendel's mother. Beowulf's battles with theses three evils symbolize the youth and adulthood of Beowulf's life. The battle with Grendel represents the youth of Beowulf's life. The typical youth is very brave and fights for fame. Beowulf shows how the battle with Grendel is a representation of the youth of Beowulf's life by going to Hrothgar and asking him if he can fight Grendel for him and his people. Beowulf shows this trait when he says, Grant me, then, lord and protector of this noble place, a single request! I have come so far, oh shelter of warriors and your people's loved friend, that this one favor you should not refuse me. That I, alone and with the help of my men, may purge all evil from this Hell. (Beowulf page #). Another trait that a typical youth has is that they don't want to be outwitted. They also don't want people to think poorly of them. Beowulf shows this when he hears that Grendel does not use any weapons to fight and so Beowulf says that he will not use any weapons because he wants Higlac to think worthy of him. Beowulf shows this trait when he says, I have heard, too, that the monster's scorn of men is so great that he needs no weapons and fears none. Now will I. My lord Higlac might think less of me if I let my sword go where my feet were afraid to, if I hid behind some broad linden shield: my hands alone shall fight for me, struggle for life against the monster (Beowulf page #). The typical youth likes to brag about what they have done. Beowulf shows this third trait when he brags to Hrothgar about how he swam all the way over and killed all the monsters in the ocean. This is seen when Beowulf says, "I swam in the Blackness of night, hunting monsters out of the ocean, and killing them one by one; death was my errand and the fate they had earned" (Beowulf page #).

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