Heroic code of Beowulf
From the very start of the poem, the author creates the image of Beowulf as a fearless warrior who possesses ridiculous strength and bravery. The author also alludes to his nearly mythical good deeds, and we are left with the image of a seemingly immortal character, almost god-like in nature. The purpose of this essay is to analyze the author’s description of Beowulf through the early parts of the piece and leading through his talk with Unferth. Through the early parts of the piece, the author seeks to portray Beowulf as a confident, brave leader who is a fearful warrior capable of accomplishing any task at hand.
I will show this by examining the original introduction of Beowulf seen in line 194 and leading through his description prior to leaving on his journey to help Hrothgar. When we are introduced to Beowulf we are immediately given the image of a courageous and respected warrior. In the first lines we are told that he is a “good man among the Geats” and that he was a man of awsome strength. We are immediately aware of his confidence and pride as it describes his burning desire to rise up to the challenge of Grendel, a enemy who has wreaked havoc in Heorot and slain hundreds of brave warriors who thought they were strong enough to overcome him.
Another telling fact of the story is that even though he is loved by the wise men and warriors of his land, they do not hesitate to encourage him with his task regardless of the huge risk associated with it. His confidence along with the confidence that others have in him assert the fact that he is a proven warrior who has not yet been daunted by any task. ;Upon arriving in the land of the Danes, Beowulf and his of warriors are greeted by the thane who is in awe of how honorable and noble the men from Geat are.
This is also the first example we have of Beowulf’s ability to charm listeners with his persuasiveness as he offers his services to the Danes. This is also seen later in the early part of the work when his reputation is challenged by Unferth, who attempts to humiliate Beowulf. He promptly responds and retells the story to reveal the true set of events that occurred, re-asserting his image as a hero. In conclusion, Beowulf is established as the prominent character of the poem as soon as he is first introduced to the reader.
The author asserts Beowulf’s role as the hero of the work by first informing us of his reputation and then by showing his eagerness to accept the task of slaying Grendel. The author later shows us Beowulf’s eloquence when he addresses the thane of the Danes and professes his task, and again later when he deflects Unferth’s attempt to humiliate him by telling of his failed contest with Breca. We also are shown some foreshadowing when Beowulf disregards Unferth’s prediction that he will fail once again in his quest and reassures the people in the great hall that he will be victorious and slay Grendel.