Courage and the Pursuit of Glory in the Poem of Beowulf

In his quest for glory, Beowulf is a poem for young adults and teens and demonstrate to them how putting their career above all else in their lives damages family and friend ties. Beowulf’s quest for glory includes his battles with Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the black dragon. During his mission, he gave no thought to being married and baring heirs, in lue of living a solitary life. His military training taught him to travel at the Lord’s orders, living with other men, and placing the Lord over himself.

Beowulf’s mission for glory is viewed differently. In the book, the battle with Grendel was explicit, using figurative language, such as imagery, to bring the story to life in the reader’s mind. In the film, however, it seems that the overall battle between man and monster was watered down to an extent. As a result, the battle was not as exciting as it is in the book. The battle between Beowulf and Grendel’s mother was an actual battle in the book, resulting in Beowulf the victor. In the film, the director seemed to lean towards the fact that the author hinted at Grendel’s mother being alive.

During the film, Beowulf received dreams about a man that was golden and appeared to call him father. Beowulf had a foreboding that the next threat to Heorot was one of his bloodlines. In the book, however, he had no inkling that the dragon was his son. The dragon just appeared and started terrorizing the town, luring Beowulf out to fight.

During Beowulf’s quest, he takes any request. “We are retainers from Hygelac’s band. Beowulf is my name. I am ready and willing to report my errand” (I. 342-345). This demonstrates that Beowulf is ready for anything and anyone, striking down any and all of his enemies. Not only is Beowulf honorable and well respected, but he is also brave as well. His courage is displayed in his actions, and not hesitating to risk his own life to pursue his employer’s enemies. By being self-assured, Beowulf is able to successfully defeat the major enemies, Grendel and Grendel’s mother. He is sent for by Hrothgar, the King of the Danes. Beowulf battles bare-handed with nothing but the skin of his back.

Beowulf is victorious in his battles. However, doing so, he lives a solitary life; no wife, no heir, no close friends. Much like her son’s work but different, Grendel’s mother waits to attack. She attacks at night and takes one of Hrothgar’s men as a prisoner, forcing Beowulf to come to her layer in order to bring the soldier back home. Grendel’s mother attacks out of revenge for her fallen son but ends up failing as Beowulf succeeds in slaying her. Beowulf displays no fear in entering the cave, nor does he extrude any hesitation in his actions. He allows his actions to speak for him and him alone.

Thanks to his quest, his military life is prominent.; traveling at the Lord’s orders, living with the other soldiers, placing the lord over himself. His quest taught him to recognize rank and where he stands in those rankings. Over the course of time, he rose through the ranks from being a commander in the fighting unit, to be a king.

The author explicitly describes and demonstrates Beowulf’s courage by not hesitating, not showing fear, and being smart in strategies. By being self-confident, Beowulf is victorious over Grendel, Grendel’s mother. Now there is a new threat, the threat of a dragon burning villages to the ground. Beowulf is planning to pursue the dragon, the epic poem states, “I’ve never known fear, as a youth I fought in endless battles.

I am old now, but I will fight again, seek fame still, if the dragon hiding in his tower dares to face me” (I. 2511-2515). In this passage, Beowulf feels no fear, confident in fighting the dragon alone, and has no qualms in risking his life to save others. He declares his bravery by saying “When he comes to me I mean to stand, not run from his shooting flames, stand till fate decides which of us wins…No one else could do what I mean to, here, no man but me could hope to defeat this monster” (l. 2525-2534). Beowulf is demonstrating the will to never back down from a fight, staying strong in the face of danger, and fighting till the last one standing.

In conclusion, Beowulf’s bravery is explicitly displayed throughout the poem. A final example of heroic qualities displayed by Beowulf and his own human power. The mental and physical strength is required of a hero. No Dane, before Beowulf’s arrival, was able to defeat the monsters, much less Grendel himself. Throughout the poem, Beowulf displays confidence, anger, sadness, pride, bravery, and protection of those he’s sworn to protect in his actions. In his mission, he gains wisdom and a sense of protecting people other than himself. Beowulf is an epic poem to read as it tells readers that it’s okay to have pride, but that isn’t what makes them better. Readers learn to think about others and not just themselves and that their actions have consequences.