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Dragon In Beowulf Analysis Essay

When he arrived at the Danish land, Beowulf was a young man seeking adventure and glory.  Beowulf was distinguished among his people, the Geats, for his bravery.  As a young man Beowulf fought in many battles and as a result showed his great character to others.  Beowulf had many characteristics which helped him to succeed in battle. As a young man, Beowulf was known as the strongest man alive.

His strength allowed him to dominate in battle.  If it were not for his pure strength, he would not have been able to defeat Grendel, for weapons would not work.  By fighting Grendel without weapons, he opened himself up to greater glorification. Beowulf’s strength could not be seen as a disadvantage, while the results of his strength could.

Beowulf’s strength allowed him dominance in battle, but it also made him cocky.  While his cockiness allowed Beowulf to be sure of himself in battle, some of his peers found it to be a character flaw.  Ecglaf, in particular, saw Beowulf as cocky and vain, questioning, “Are you the Beowulf who competed with Breca…swollen with vanity…”  So, while his cockiness was a flaw in the eyes of others, Beowulf saw it as self assurance and used it to his advantage.   Beowulf also had a strong spirit of adventure.  His spirit of adventure was part of the reason that Beowulf went to fight Grendel.  Beowulf’s strength and spirit of adventure had also led him to glory in many battles, including that with Grendel.  Beowulf used his glory in previous battles to justify himself when coming to help Hrothgar.   In addition, his self assurance, and known bravery probably guided his decision.  Beowulf’s spirit of adventure gained him a lot of glory, however, it could have gotten him into trouble, if he were to have taken an adventure too far. While in his young age, Beowulf used his strength for glory and recognition.  As he became older his great strength was taken away from him, and Beowulf found himself without one of his greatest abilities.

Beowulf then was king of the Geats, and when a dragon attacked his land, it was his responsibility to protect his people. Feeling angry and eager for slaughter, Beowulf and his men went to slay the dragon.  During the battle Beowulf is overwhelmed by the force of the dragon due to his lack of strength, and had to be saved by one of his thanes, Wiglaf.  Now, Beowulf’s strength, instead of being an advantage to him, became a weakness. The loss of strength, and the battle was disheartening to Beowulf, however he took it in stride.  After his battle with the dragon Beowulf realized his time was over.  However, he used the time on his death bed to reflect on his life.  He also used this time to regain some glory, in reminding his thanes of all the great battles he fought.  This is a sign of Beowulf’s self assurance. Even though his assurance no longer guided him into battle, Beowulf used it to assure himself that he had done well in his life.

During his life time, Beowulf was a great fighter.  His bravery and strength helped him to triumph, and he made sure everyone knew about it.  By doing so he showed his vanity.  However, all of his attributes; strength, courage, self assurance, and adventurous helped Beowulf for good.  While they could have had greater bad effects, Beowulf carried himself well and was respected by many (except for Grendel!).

What Is Significant about the Last Battle in Beowulf?

Beowulf is a hero of the Anglo-Saxon epic poem, which is known for his bravery, love for his people and willingness to die for it. In his time it was considered worthy to die in battle than to live a long and happy life. Therefore, Beowulf as a true leader and warrior fights every time for life and death.

Beowulf entered into mortal combat with the evil for three times. It is evil, not just an enemy, which is equal in strength, status and endurance. His enemy was evil in various guises: Grendel and his mother, and the dragon. The courage and strength helped Beowulf to overcome Grendel and his mother, and protect his people. But the battle with the dragon caught the main character in the twilight of his valiant and glorious life, when Beowulf was ready to leave this world in battle and earn Valhalla. Dragon was a worthy opponent. Beowulf fought to the last breath, despite the broken sword, deadly wound, and betrayal of his people (Abraham, 1993). His struggle can be considered as a feat in order to save and protect his people.

The last battle is significant in many respects. Despite the fact that the warriors were afraid of the dragon, and left their leader, Beowulf felt responsible for their lives and lives of his people. This heroic act deserves immense respect and glory. Also this battle helped to understand and determine who in fact could become a worthy successor of Beowulf. After all, only Wiglaf remained faithful to his leader and helped him in battle. In addition, the dragon is also the embodiment of universal evil, with Beowulf has to fight. This distinguishes him from the rest of the warriors and raises to the rank of hero (Lawson, 2016). In general, the final battle is a prime example of good and evil struggle in which, no matter what, the good wins.

References

Abraham, L. (1993). The Decorum of ‘Beowulf.’. Philological Quarterly, 72(3), 267. Retrieved from https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-15411924/the-decorum-of-beowulf

Beowulf (modern English translation) by Anonymous : The Poetry Foundation. (2016).

Poetryfoundation.org. Retrieved 7 April 2016, from http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/180445

Lawson, R. (2016). Exclusive Medieval Articles – Beowulf: Recognizing the Past. Shadowedrealm.com. Retrieved 7 April 2016, from http://www.shadowedrealm.com/medieval-articles/exclusive/beowulf_recognizing_the_past

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