Beowulf Young and Old Essay

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Beowulf Young and Old

Despite Beowulf’s almost supernatural strength, stamina and stature, he ages just the same as any other human being. In the human life cycle, one generally begins naive and inexperienced and ages into an adult of more wisdom and knowledge. Akin to others in his time, Beowulf starts as a young fearless warrior and grows into an aged prudent king.
From the beginning of his life as a warrior to the end as a king, he gains and develops glory, responsibility and courage, all vital to his reign as a successful king.

Beowulf’s responsibility differs from a warrior to a king. As a young fighter he has responsibility to his Geatish king as well as to Hrothgar. His king, Hyglac, relies on Beowulf to represent him and
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Beowulf’s virtues of courage and strength appear throughout the poem during his life as a warrior and as a king. He begins the story with courage and “the strength of thirty / in the grip of each hand” (380-381), which are vital to his accomplishments as a warrior. His courage and strength are apparent when he fights Grendel without the use of weapons. Both virtues are crucial to his success in that battle and lead him to become a leader of wisdom and stature. As king of Heorot he uses his courage and strength in the battle against the dragon. Before the fight he has a feeling of uncertainty and it is stated “He was sad at heart / unsettled yet ready, sensing his death. / His fate hovered near, unknowing but certain: / It would soon claim his coffered soul.” (2419-2424). His sense of forthcoming death may illustrates a lack of confidence in his ability to slay the dragon; however, it also shows tremendous courage by involving himself in an unevenly matched fight. Although his physical strength may have abandoned him in his last fight against the dragon, his courage and wisdom intensified his glory beyond his death.

Beowulf’s fame and glory is essential to him much like it is to the rest of the Norse culture. When Beowulf first appears to Hrothgar he makes an effort to brag regarding his achievements as a warrior and claims “‘They had seen me bolstered in the blood of enemies / when I battled and bound five beasts, / raided a troll-nest and in the

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