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Beowulf Hero or King

Oct 08, 1999 480 Words
An Anglo-Saxon hero is supposed to achieve individual glory. Beowulf searched for individual fame and glory his entire life. His pursuit to become a hero was so strong that it motivated him to take on the evils of the world. Through his encounters with evil he was able to achieve individual fame and thus fulfill the expectations of an Anglo-Saxon hero. Beowulf was also able to meet the expectations that faced a king during the Anglo-Saxon period. During his rule as king, Beowulf treated his people, the Geats, with immense an fairness and was very good to all of them. A hero is a man of great courage and strength that is admired for his nobility and exploits. Through Beowulf's encounters with evil he shows the true valor and courage of a hero, and as a result achieves individual glory. There are three main encounters with evil creatures that clearly display Beowulf as being a hero, and they are as follows: the encounter with Grendel, the encounter with Grendel's mother, and the encounter with the dragon in the tower. After the first "battle was over, Beowulf Had been granted new glory"(392-393). However, Grendel's mother soon retaliated against Hrothgar, so the celebration and praise was short lived. The second encounter involved Beowulf traveling to the lake where Grendel's mother lived and killing her also. After Beowulf killed the beast, he was praised by his "glorious band of Geats"(597) who,"Carried Beowulf's helmet, and his mail shirt"(600-601) as they walked back to find Hrothgar. As Beowulf entered Herot, he was "covered with glory for the daring Battles he had fought"(616) and he "sought Hrothgar to salute him and show Grendel's head"(618). In the third encounter, Beowulf was an old man yet he still fought the dragon that was menacing his kingdom. This encounter really displays how Beowulf is a hero. It showed that his valor and confidence was present even as an old man. An Anglo-Saxon king is expected to base his decisions on what will benefit his subjects. The fact that Beowulf ruled Geatland for fifty years immediately gives the indication that the people accepted him as a leader. Through Wiglaf the reader learns how Beowulf treated his men. According to Wiglaf, Beowulf gave his family the "Armor and gold and the great estates"(719) that his "family enjoyed"(720). As Beowulf is dying, he tells Wiglaf to take the treaure and lead his people. Beowulf was definitely able to meet the Anglo- Saxon expectations of being a hero and a king. Through his encounters with the three evil creatures he was able to achieve individual glory and fame. As king, Beowulf treated his people, the Geats, very well. He provided everything they needed and based his decisions on what would benefit them.

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