by the thinker
a three week assignment i did it has hard. but with hard work and allot of soda i did it.
22 September 2014
The Old Warrior King
The old warrior king lay dying on the open plain mortally wounded by his final foe, a Hell spawned dragon. This is the climatic
conclusion of Seamus Heaney's translation of the epic poem, Beowulf which details the exploits of the Geat Warrior, Beowulf.
As a warrior he was known for his heroic deeds and unwavering loyalty. As a king he was known for guarding peace and
prosperity throughout his reign. Beowulf cleansed the oceans of giant snake monsters, exterminated two demonic beings from
Denmark and in the end, abandoned by all but one of his men, fought a fire breathing poisonous dragon to the death in order to
save his people from the evil beast. It could be claimed that Beowulf was driven by vanity, greed and a lust for glory; but it is
evident throughout the poem, that he was actually a selfless hero compelled by the virtues of loyalty, courage, and unfaltering
Without loyalty Beowulf would have been nothing more than a mercenary for hire. After killing Grendel, Beowulf had
fulfilled his father's debt to Hrothgar, but that very night Grendel's mother ravaged Hrothgar's Hall, Heorot. Hrothgar begged
Beowulf to avenge his fallen friend and adviser, Aeschere, by killing the she demon. Beowulf could have refused and left
with his treasures. Instead, he replied to Hrothgar saying “ wise sir do not grieve. It is always better / to avenge dear ones than
to indulge in mourning....”(Beowulf 1384-85) Beowulf's loyalty to Hrothgar would not let him leave until vengeance was served
and the second monster was killed. It was not Greed or vanity that compelled Beowulf into action. Were it so, he would have
left, but Loyalty is one of the key defining elements of Beowulf's character and he was forced to stay.
Though loyalty was a key component to Beowulfs success, loyalty alone was not his driving force. He was a courageous
man, unwilling to back down from even the most monstrous foes. Had he lacked courage he would not have ridded the oceans
of sea monsters and certainly not have faced the monster, Grendel. Beowulf believed that “if fate has not marked you for death
then often you can over come by sheer courageousness.”(572-73) It was courageousness that drove him to kill Grendel's
mother and courageousness that enabled him to chose to die for his people while facing the dragon. It was not greed or lust for
glory as dead men cannot enjoy either. Undeniably, Beowulf possesses great courage as well as loyalty, but all this pales in
comparison to his stalwart faith.
Beowulf believed that God was a just and righteous god. He was unfaltering in his faith which gave him the will to stand
against unimaginable evils. In the hours before his battle with Grendel he spoke to Hrothgar and said “Whichever one of us dies
it is the righteous and just decision of god.”(440-41) Beowulf believed that he was a warrior of God and that God would always
be on his side as long as his cause was righteous. Had Beowulf not valued faith in God , it would be believable that he could
have been motivated by greed, vainity, or glory. Beowulf's Faith underscores and fortifies his virtues of loyalty and courage.
Without even one of these characteristics, he would not have become the hero lauded in the epic poem.
Beowulf was a selfless hero who embodied the virtues of loyalty, courage, and faith. He was not motivated by greed,
vanity or glory lust. His God was his motivator and righteousness was his testifier. Without loyalty he would not have been
compelled to fight Grendel or kill Grendel's mother. Without courage he would not have been able to succeed in his battles.
Without Faith he would have been incapable of both courage or loyalty as he would not have felt bound to God's roghteous
Heaney, Seamus. Beowulf : a new verse translation. New york,NY.: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 2000. is.muni.cz . Web. 9 sep 2014.