The Courage of Beowulf Essay

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Courage is a theme that is shown throughout the entire epic of Beowulf. By definition courage is the state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes on ones own will and determination. There are many things form the epic that could be used to prove this statement, but I chose to use the section entitled "The Final Battle." In this section there are two great speeches given by both Beowulf and Wiglaf. I believe that in both of these monologues courage is portrayed by the two warriors, and it is easy to see why.

In Section 14, lines 674-685 Beowulf says, "....I feel no shame, with shield and sword and armor, against this monster: when he comes to me I mean to
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In Section 15, lines 771-790 Wiglaf says, "....He meant to kill this monster himself, our mighty king, fight this battle alone and unaided, as in the days when his strength and daring dazzled men's eyes. But those days are over and gone and our lord must lean on younger arms. And we must go to him, while angry flames burn at his flesh, help our glorious king! By almighty God I'd rather burn myself than see flames swirling around my lord. And who are we to carry home our shields before we've slain his enemy and ours, to run back to our homes with Beowulf so hard pressed here? I swear that nothing he ever did deserved an end like this, dying miserable and alone, butchered by this savage beast: we swore that these swords and armor were each for us all!..."

When Wiglaf is saying this to the rest of Beowulf's army when he is being killed by the dragon. The warriors are getting scared, because they are watching their king being butchered by this dragon, and they start to run away. Wiglaf sees them fleeing and tells them this. The point that he is trying to get across is that all of them swore allegiance to Beowulf when they joined his great army. So they must now prove their allegiance by helping their king when he is in trouble. Unfortunately, Wiglaf's

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