Beowulf, the Overly Manly Man
Beowulf a story focused around the life and perils of Beowulf, a manly man, contains masculinity and the three traits that define it, bravery, strength and perseverance. Masculinity, a term that in its literal sense means the possession of manly traits, continually shows itself in Beowulf and defines the main character, Beowulf, “son of Ecgtheow”(quote in a note on names). The culture Beowulf is a part of surrounds itself with the ideals and ways of masculinity. Three masculine traits that stand out in the story and the protagonist Beowulf are, bravery, strength and perseverance. Beowulf proves himself to be a masculine character early in the story and through many trails and battles in which he comes out victorious. Bravery is one of the key traits of masculinity, and Beowulf showed it throughout the story. In Beowulf’s battle against Grendel, the first of many in the story, he showed his bravery in many different ways. In the begging, Beowulf declares he will fight Grendel in “single combat” (426) and will be a match for him. In the battle, Beowulf’s thanes tried with all their power to kill the mighty Grendel, but “no blade” (802) could damage the beast. With all else failing, Beowulf stepped in and “pounce[d]” (962) on the vicious beast and took it down with his bare hands. Beowulf showed his undeniable bravery and masculinity in this scene by stepping up and proving he is a powerful warrior. Had it not been for him, his comrades and him would have fallen. Bravery is one of the key traits in masculinity. Beowulf stepped up and took action when no one else would, proving his masculinity. Beowulf showed his unbeatable bravery again in his battle against Grendel’s mother. Beowulf came to the “point of action” (1475) and without fail presented himself to fight Grendel’s cursed mother. Beowulf proves he is brave and ready to face and endure danger when he goes to the “outlandish lair” (1500) without any idea of what was to...
Cited: Heaney, Seamus. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000. Print.
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