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Beowulf Young and Old

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 09:11 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 57.4 
  • Words: 784
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Despite Beowulf’s almost supernatural strength, stamina and stature, he ages just the same as any other human being. In the human life cycle, one generally begins naive and inexperienced and ages into an adult of more wisdom and knowledge. Akin to others in his time, Beowulf starts as a young fearless warrior and grows into an aged prudent king. From the beginning of his life as a warrior to the end as a king, he gains and develops glory, responsibility and courage, all vital to his reign as a successful king.





Beowulf’s responsibility differs from a warrior to a king. As a young fighter he has responsibility to his Geatish king as well as to Hrothgar. His king, Hyglac, relies on Beowulf to represent him and the Geats; Hrothgar depends on Beowulf to save his people from the aggressor Grendel. Beowulf professes to Hrothgar “To heighten Hygelac’s fame and gladden his heart, I hereby renounce sword and the shelter of the broad shield,” (435-448), which shows his dedication and responsibility for the reputation of his leader. As he grows older and wiser, his responsibilities change from warrior to king. As king of the Geats he has a reputation to maintain and the responsibility to protect his people. When the dragon attacks, he sacrifices his well-being for the safety of the Geats despite his justified forecast of his own death. It is apparent that the older Beowulf has much more responsibility in comparison to the young Beowulf. He not only has to protect his own people from the predator, but his own life as well because of the importance of his leadership.





Beowulf’s virtues of courage and strength appear throughout the poem during his life as a warrior and as a king. He begins the story with courage and “the strength of thirty / in the grip of each hand” (380-381), which are vital to his accomplishments as a warrior. His courage and strength are apparent when he fights Grendel without the use of weapons. Both virtues are crucial...

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