Beowulf V, Himself
Nikki Smalls Mr. Walpole Honors English 4 14 Oct. 2012 Beowulf V. Himself Ever wonder if a hero really is a hero by heart? Who actually does good deeds to be the protector and only protects the people? The character Beowulf, who is a Geat in the story Beowulf, translated by Burton Raffel plays the role of a hero; but is he really this innocent hero? Beowulf comes to protect the Danes by fighting evil monsters. Beowulf is a very boastful man filled with a lot of pride and energy. He loves to brag, and this journey he has to take shows how he really is.
While Beowulf makes references, he actually believes in free will because of his arrogance, isolation/his ability to do things, and his desire of fame. Beowulf is a very self-applauding man, who lets his arrogance show who he really is. When Beowulf received the message of fighting a monster for the Danes, he was more than happy to do it. Why; because Beowulf is always bragging about how he can do this and that. So taking this quest would be a great opportunity for Beowulf’s ego to lift even more.
Beowulf always has stories he tells about the many monsters he fought and how no man can do what he does. “No man swims in the sea/ As I can, no strength is a match for mine” (30. 6. 266-267). This quote explains the strong seas he can swim in and no man can swim in the seas as he can. Beowulf really believes he is this god that can do things that many men can not. The mentality Beowulf has is overly confident. He is overly confident of doing certain things that he feels not even the bravest man can achieve. “Lucky or not, nine was the number/ Of sea-huge monsters I killed.
What man, / Anywhere under Heaven’s high arch, has fought/ In such darkness, endured more misery, or been harder/ Pressed? Yet I survived the sea, smashed/ The monsters’ hot jaws, swam home from my journey. ” (31-32. 7. 307-312). Beowulf believes that he can literally do what he sets his mind to. This shows proof that Beowulf does not really want to help the Danes just to defeat the monster; that he really wants to defeat the monster so his name can be heard and even more. The truth of the matter is that Beowulf has an isolated mind set and likes to do things on his own.
He likes to fight battles by his self even when he has his Geats to protect him, or just simply fight by his side. Beowulf feels like he can fight any creature equally. When he first fought Grendel he did not use weapons because he considered himself equal to Grendel, that he is strong enough to fight a monster. If Grendel did not use weapons, Beowulf would not use weapons. For Beowulf’s last battle he fights the dragon. “I would rather not/ Use a weapon if I knew another way/ To grapple with the dragon and make good my boast/ As I did against Grendel in days gone by. (43. 14. 668-671). That quote demonstrates that Beowulf still wants to be known as this powerful man, it shows another sign of isolation but, this time with weapons. Even though Beowulf has his Geats to back him up; Beowulf still feels the need to do things on his own. He feels as though no one is supposed to help him while fighting the monsters. Beowulf believes it is his battle no one should help. “Men at arms, this fight is not yours nor is it up to any man except me to measure his strength against the monster or to prove his worth” (44. 14. 79,683-685). You would think that Beowulf could be looking out for his men, but the truth is he really says that so he can say he did it all on his own. Even though Beowulf does not physically say he has this desire for fame, his actions show otherwise. “I shall win gold/ by my courage, or else combat,” (44. 14. 685-686). Every time Beowulf wins a fight with enemy he is rewarded gold. It almost seems like this is another reason for Beowulf to continuously fight these creatures because he knows that he will be rewarded gold when he defeats them.
Beowulf made sure even after he died that his name became known. He made sure the people questioned “was there a warrior worthier to rule over men” (38. 10. 542). When Beowulf fought the dragon, he had the chance to let a much younger warrior fight the dragon for him; but because Beowulf has this desire for fame he would rather sacrifice his own life, then have some one else do it for him. From Beowulf being so arrogant isolated, and wanting the desire of fame these lead to references to the free will of Beowulf.
These references lead to Beowulf’s downfall. If he was a laid back hero, or a hero that was not cocky or did not desire fame as much as he did, Beowulf may still be alive. The readers would learn possibly what could have prevented Beowulf from dying. Also, you the reader, would see through out the story that Beowulf is how I described him as an overbearing man. This topic can relate to reality, my own world, because it shows that Beowulf is just like a normal person. He is not like a normal hero who does not do things for the fame and gold.
However, in reality a normal person would only do all those things that Beowulf did by himself just for the fame. Beowulf can definitely relate to a real life person. Heroes are similar because their main goals are to defeat the villain and protect their people. They are different because in today’s society because, they do good only for something in return, such as money. A modern super hero would not go through a journey like that without a promising gift in return. Beowulf may have fought monsters but his real battle was with himself.