Motivation In Beowulf

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Everybody Loves a Hero
(An Analysis of Beowulf’s Motivations in Each of His Battles)
There is no question about it, everyone loves a hero. But why are those called heroes classified as such? Why do they receive such a great honor while others are left out in the cold? The answer is simple. Those who are heroes display certain characteristics that the masses find irresistible. They are brave, charming, charismatic, and often handsome. But what drives the hero? In any hero’s story there has to be motivation. Every hero has a reason they start fighting and, eventually, a reason they stop. But this motivation is what will keep them going. The hero Beowulf undergoes many trials, each determining a new motivation and a new milestone in his lifetime.
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When Beowulf arrives it is very apparent that he is not simply there to assist the land of the Danes. Rather, he sees the monster as a grandiose opportunity to prove himself to all of those around him. According to Akhter, “The effects of actions, good or bad are temporary within the world of Beowulf.” (Akhter) Beowulf is motivated by many things in his first battle. However, the regard for the safety of others is not one. Beowulf does not slay the monster to protect his people, despite the fact that this was a direct result of the battle. According to Florman, “The quest for fame is of the utmost importance to a warrior trying to establish himself in the world.” (Florman) It is due to a prideful heart and a thirst for fame that Beowulf defeats…show more content…
By his final battle, Beowulf has finally come to full terms with what his courage and heroism means. He no longer fights out of pride, but fights for the good of the people. However, he still will not accept any assistance from the warriors he brings along, still insisting that this was his battle to fight and he had to do it alone. According to O’Connor, “In his final act of glory, Beowulf ultimately sacrifices the security of Geatland for his obstinacy in defeating the dragon alone, rejecting the warning made by Hrothgar.” (O’Connor) Beowulf never fully loses his pride, he only begins to channel it into other more useful outlets, one that is intended to protect all people. According to Stitt, “Mutual love and loyalty is seen when Beowulf 's transition from warrior to king is complete in the second half of the poem.” (Stitt). In the end, Beowulf has made the transition from boyish warrior to king, made apparent by his courage and persistence in his final battle.
Beowulf was a brave warrior from start to finish. The only thing that changed were his reasons to be brave. In the end, Beowulf was fighting only for the good of his people, no longer worried about selfish gain or what he would receive for it. This was the mark of Beowulf’s maturity. It becomes quite clear that in the end, he was the only hero for the job of slaying all of the land’s great monsters. Meeting his end in battle seemed
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