Character of Beowulf

Beowulf is a heroic poem and looked upon as one of the earliest specimens of epic poetry. The hero of the poem is presented as an epic hero and the poem, consisting of 3183 lines, records, in two parts, the three great feats of the hero, beowulf.

 The first part of the poem deals with the hero's fight with the beast-man Grendel and with his dame and the other part treats his fight with a fierce fire-breathing dragon. The first part, again, has two divisons- Grendel's death and his mother's death at the hands of Beowulf. The second part presents the incident that happens some fifty years after and celebrates Beowulf's noble triumph and heroic death in course of his fight with the dreadful dragon.

In the first part, Beowulf comes as a rescuer of Hrothgar, the king of the Danes. The great hall, Heorot, built by Hrothgar, is ravaged by Grendel. The monster has slained all who ventured to stay in the hall at night. Beowul's heroic heart is thrilled and his chivalrous spirit roused, as he hears the state of affairs at Heorot, his friend's great hall. He resolves to set Heorot free from the monster and with the help of some valiant Geats, crosses the sea and reaches Heorot. 

Beowulf swears boldly that he will slay Grendel. When the night comes, only Beowulf and his men are left in the hall to meet the formidable adversary. All these details definitely indicate two asects in Beowulf's character- his adventurous spirit and his undaunted courage. He is ready for any eventuality and fears no foe to establish his promise and to protect the weak against ht wicked. 

Beowulf's strength and gallantry come out in his struggle with Grendel. As Grendel enters the hall, with his enormous stength, Beowulf readily challenges him. Although Grendel possesses the giant's strength, Beowulf tears away his arms, and the fiend flees to the sea-cave only to die. Beowulf's heroc strngth is, thus, clearly estaqblished, and the poem serves to emphasize this. 

Beowulf's heroism comes to the limelight further, as the vengeance of Grendel's dame begins. She comes to take revenge of her son's death, refushes to Heorot and kills one of Hrothgar's dearest friends and bears away his dead body to her cave. When Beowulfis informed of this, he resolves to take vengeance. He tells his friend with a heroic urge-

"Better vengeance for a friend than too much of sorrow for him. 
Who can win homour let him do it befor he dies for that is best for him, when hi is dead."

Beowulf is determined that Grendel's kin can never escape from him. He goes to her cave, triumphs over her and returns victoriously on the bloody sea, bearing Grendel's head. Beowulf, thus, becomes an epic hero in strength and performance, overpowering the dreadful foes with superb prowess. 

The entire story of Beowulf is a grand idealization of a Teutonic hero, inspired with the noble ideal to protect the weak and annihilate the wicked. Beowulf here presents the Teutonic ideals of leadership in which valour, spirit, fortitude and the spirit of self-sacrifice are all dominant and perfectly assimilated.




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