is – today – one of the most important surviving works of medieval literature.
Grendel’s mother attacks for one very simple reason: revenge.
In a society that’s heavily defined by loyalty and family ties, vengeance poses problems, fuelling violence, destruction and instability. Earlier on I referred to Grendel as an unknown quantity, and that’s the exact threat he poses.
1709–57), and he rewards Beowulf lavishly with gifts and weapons in return for killing the Grendels (ll. This, the poet tells us, is what a good leader does (ll. But the dragon, in contrast, doesn’t behave like this at all.
The havoc it wreaks on an entire kingdom is instigated by the theft of a single gold cup from its hoard (ll. Greed is a real concern in : reflecting heroic Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon societies, the poem’s human characters live and die by the generosity of their rulers.
The dragon is a literal threat to the safety of Beowulf’s people, but in the way it behaves it represents a moral danger, too.
Heroism Beowulf Essay U.S. Immigration Policy Essay
Earlier in the poem, Hrothgar makes a lengthy speech warning against the dangers of greed (ll.
Beowulf does his duty, kitted out with weapons and armour that even he seems to know will do him no good: he clearly understood that the forest-wood could not help him, the wooden shield against the flames.
The foremost prince would have to endure the end of his transitory days, his life in the world, and the dragon with him.] Although the three monsters allow Beowulf to prove his heroism in battle, that’s not their only purpose in the poem.
Peace is fragile in the world of , and it can be easily overturned by greed, or feuding or social isolation.
If we push this reading further, though, things get more complicated.