“Time and again, foul things attacked me, lurking and stalking, but I lashed out, gave as good as I got with my sword. My flesh was not for feasting on, there would be no monsters gnawing and gloating over their banquet at the bottom of the sea. Instead, in the morning, mangled and sleeping the sleep of the sword, lay slopped and floated like the ocean’s leavings. From now on sailors would be safe, the deep-sea raids were over for good. Light came from the east, bright guarantee of God, and the waves went quiet; I could see headlands and buffeted cliffs. Often, for undaunted courage, fate spares the man it has not already marked. However it occurred, my sword had killed nine sea-monsters. Such night-dangers and hard ordeals I have never heard of nor of a man more desolate in surging waves. But worn out as I was, I survived, came through with my life. The ocean lifted and laid me ashore, I landed safe on the coast of Finland.” * Seamus Heaney, Beowulf: A new Translation, Lines 559-581
The epic poem, Beowulf, is an old classic hero tale. The author tells throughout the poem how Beowulf is an archetypal hero through different characteristics, good and bad combined. He usually portrays health, skill, consideration, honor, loyalty, respect and the quality of a protagonist, and then at times he also is an antagonist. He sticks to what the king asked him to do, and fought off Grendel, then he stayed around to fight off Grendel’s mother and the dragon to keep the town out of danger and terror, showing loyalty, honor, skill, respect, and health. But he was an antagonist when he taunted Grendel to get him to battle him. (Lines 301-709) He also showed consideration when he fought off Grendel’s mother after she wanted vengeance for Grendel (Lines 710-1007), and when he fought off the dragon (2211-2512). In the particular passage above Beowulf is perceived as Healthy, Skillful and Educated. He comes off as healthy because he says that he fought monsters time and time...
Cited: Heaney, S. (n.d.). Beowulf: The New Translation.
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