Conflict and Beowulf

Topics: Beowulf, Conflict, Sword Pages: 3 (707 words) Published: September 14, 2014
It is true that Beowulf is the story of a dual ordeal: an external battle with vicious opponents and an internal battle with human tendencies of pride, greed, cowardice, betrayal, and self-concern. The internal and external battles that Beowulf faces and overcomes make him the “epic hero” he yearns to be. To start, in the Anglo-Saxon community, warriors are considered to be the strongest, bravest, and most respected of all men. In this poem, Beowulf is the “epic hero”, meaning he must go on a journey to fight evil, while grappling with the struggle between good and evil and expressing the cultural traditions of the time. In order to prove himself a hero, Beowulf determines that he is going to fight and defeat Grendel, who has been terrorizing the town and putting the community’s life at danger. During Beowulf’s mission, his pride proves to be his largest internal battle and winds up standing in his way of protecting himself and the people around him. Even when it seems that Beowulf needs help during the battle, he is too conceited and arrogant to admit that he needs assistance. Not only does Beowulf decide to fight Grendel because of his own self confidence, but he also feels that “fate will unwind as it must and with that decided no swords would be used.” (Raffel pg 48) Beowulf decides that if fate is destined, he can defeat Grendel by only using his bare hands. Another internal struggle awakens Beowulf when he exclaims, “Wait for me close by my friends.” (Raffel pg 52) Once his men see that Beowulf is losing, they flee the area and prove to be cowards when faced with conflict. At this moment, Beowulf experiences his first glimpse of betrayal and starts to doubt himself. Beowulf’s integrity is tested to its limit once his shield is melted and his trusty sword has snapped. Although Beowulf feels hopeless at this point, exemplifying Pagan values, he manages to overcome this conflict by obtaining a giant sword and decapitating the monster. Greed comes into...
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