Retribution in Beowulf

1124 Words Aug 18th, 2007 5 Pages
_Beowulf_ is an epic poem that, above all, gives us a vision of a time long ago; a time when the most important traits to have were courage and integrity. The only thing that could give such fame to somebody was heroic deeds and family lineage. Beowulf, as the example of pagan heroes, exhibited his desire to accumulate fame and fortune; the only way to do so was to avenge the death of others. This theme of retribution that is present throughout the whole poem seems to enrich the identities of its characters.

In _Beowulf_, revenge is represented with both an honest and rhetorical motives. Payback of monsters ' offenses is Beowulf 's path to the top: worldwide fame, infinite wealth, and unanimous respect. Grendel 's violence is less
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The dragon just acts out of pure and simple vengeance, while Grendel attacks out of his insecurity and jealous nature. "So Grendel waged his lonely war, / inflicting constant cruelties on the people, / atrocious hurt... he was the Lord 's outcast" (165-166; 169).

The final and most absolute act of revenge in _Beowulf_ comes from the dragon, also the last monster. The dragon was forced into a rage of destruction when he learned Beowulf 's men had been raiding his treasure collections. The dragon really only wanted defend his treasure, and when he couldn 't do that, violence was his natural reaction of retribution. Beowulf figures it 's time for him to face the dragon when he learns that "his own home, / had been burned to a cinder" (2325-2326).

The final requirement of the Heroic Code, Beowulf 's actions are in the hands of fate, in his fight with the dragon. Beowulf is attempting to complete or fulfill his destiny, if you will, by fighting the dragon. The dragon, however, is acting out of revenge for what Beowulf and his men did to his treasures. "The veteran king sat down on the cliff-top... he was sad at heart, / unsettled yet ready, sensing his death. / His fate hovered near, unknowable but certain" (2416-2421). The dragon 's act of vengeance is the pivotal point where Beowulf meets his demise and his destiny.

Clearly, revenge is a theme that filters through in nearly every aspect of _Beowulf_. Revenge is used as a
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