The epic poem Beowulf is one of the oldest epics in English literature. Beowulf is a great Anglo-Saxon warrior. He has super human abilities that set him apart from other men. He is a servant to Hrothgar and eventually becomes a beloved king. Beowulf is a true hero in this epic because of his accomplishments in battle. Beowulf fights Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and a dragon throughout this poem. The three battles Beowulf engages in differ by his attitude, preparation, and physical ability. In Beowulf’s battle against Grendel, his attitude, preparation, and physical ability illustrate his confidence. Beowulf travels to the land of the Danes because he heard there was a demon terrorizing the Danish people. He is very sure of himself and does not fear Grendel. Beowulf is so confident that he claims, “single-handed [he’ll] settle the strife!” (Beowulf 16) Beowulf decides to wear no armor and bear no weapons during the fight. However, he is unaware that all weapons have no effect on Grendel. His excuse for not using weapons is because “Nothing [Grendel] knows of noble fighting, of thrusting and hewing and hacking of shield, fierce as he is in fury of war” (24). Beowulf has a lot of faith in himself and his abilities. He is very young and agile but his strength is what sets him apart from other men due to the fact that “his hand-grip has thirty men’s strength” (15). With strength like this, Beowulf has no trouble taking him “with hand-grip only [he’ll] grapple with Grendel; Foe against for [he’ll] fight to the death”(16). Beowulf travels into the swamp where Grendel resides. Beowulf wins the first battle when “Grendel [suffers] a grievous hurt, a wound in the shoulder, gaping and wide; Sineus [snap] and bow joints [break], and Beowulf [gains] the glory of Battle”(28). This victory reinforces Beowulf’s confidence and he is honored to restore the spirit of Heorot. In Beowulf’s battle with Grendel’s mother, he...
Cited: Beowulf: The Oldest English Epic. Trans. by Charles W. Kennedy. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1940.
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