Wiglaf in Beowulf: a True Anglo-Saxon Warrior

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In the first part of the heroic poem Beowulf an old king Hrothgar is being helped by the young hero – Beowulf. In the second part, however, Beowulf himself is an old king and is being helped by Wiglaf. The question is, wether Wiglaf is simply a true Anglo-Saxon warrior, or, like Beowulf, he can be called a superhero. This essay will analyze this issue, by comparing the epithets used about Beowulf and Wiglaf, what they say and do. It can be clearly seen, that there are a lot of different epithets used about Beowulf. Mostly they describe Beowulf’s physical abilities, personal characteristics, his social position and family and tribal relations. There are a lot of epithets describing Beowulf as a warrior (“good warrior” (Beowulf 41), “angry warrior” (Beowulf 54), “victorious warrior” (Beowulf 66), “brave warrior” (Beowulf 69)), his strength (“mighty man” (Beowulf 42), “mighty one” (Beowulf 37), “the stongest of warriors” (Beowulf 54)), courage, pride and bravery (“the man known for his courage” (Beowulf 36), “proud man of the Geats” (Beowulf 36), “the brave shield-warrior” (Beowulf 58), “battle-brave one” (Beowulf 41)). Along with epithets like “the kinsman of Hygelac” (Beowulf 42), “the best of thanes” (Beowulf 59) and “the lord of the Weather-Geats” (Beowulf 66) those like “the protector of warriors” (Beowulf 43), “the protector of seafarers” (Beowulf 55) and “the protector of Weather-Geats” (Beowulf 72) can be found in the text. Such epithets play a very important role, because superheroes are supposed to use their strength to protect other people. Also it is repeated oftenly, that Beowulf belongs to the tribe of the Geats (“man of the Geats” (Beowulf 43), “the Geat” (Beowulf 58), “a good man among the Geats” (Beowulf 34)), which is essemtial, since king Hrothgar is Dane, so Beowulf helps not only people of his own tribe, but also of different ones. Unlike Beowulf, Wiglaf is described with a relatively small ammount of epithets. They speak about him as a...
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