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Beowulf and his pride

Beowulf and His Pride

Alan Spivak


One of Beowulf's main characteristics is his ever present pride. To

most protagonists their pride is usually explained by a friend or narrator.

However, Beowulf is one who likes to show the whole world how important and

valuable he is to them. Through out the chapters which we have read it seems as

though the whole point in the book is to show off his strength. He presents

himself before a fight with boasting and an ostentatious manner of fighting.

When Beowulf was a little boy he wanted to show his strength and entered

a race with his friend Breeca. He knew that he would win with no effort at all,

but then, due to a storm, he lost his way. While Beowulf was trying to return

to land he managed to kill nine sea monsters with his bare hands and still

caught up to Brecca. He apparently bragged to such an extent that everyone in

Scandinavia knew about this race and the courageous way he cleared the sea of

evil. He, at this young age, had no need to think about death. All he

thought about was foolishly having fun and proving himself to the spectators.

When Beowulf fought with Grendel, the demon who was terrorizing Herot

Hall, he came there boasting about how worthy he was to fight for Denmark. The

people accepted him as a deserving warrior and permitted him to do what ever he

needed to rid them of Grendel. Beowulf wanted to fool Grendel into thinking

that he was sleeping so that Grendel would try to kill him, but instead Beowulf

would terminate him. That night Grendel did come and fell right into Beowulf's

trap. Beowulf had Grendel in his hands, but no matter how strong Beowulf was

the demon escaped missing only an arm. Grendel would soon die in his lair

because of blood loss, but Beowulf was unhappy that he could not stretch

Grendel's body on the floor. However, he still hung Grendel's arm, just to

show how only he was strong enough to kill the monster. This time when Beowulf

went to fight he told the king that if he would die then the king should give

Beowulf's armor to its rightful owner.

In Beowulf's next fight with Grendel's mother, he showed once more that

he was capable of such an adventurous task. There was no soldier brave enough

to take on a monster that lives in the pits of hell and thrives on the bodies of

innocent men. However, Beowulf ostentatiously jumped into the fiery lake and

once more showed to the whole world that he was the greatest warrior of all time.

Beowulf, maturing, told the king to take care of his armor and more

importantly, to make sure that his soldiers don't remain leaderless. He

realized that there are other people he has a responsibility for besides himself.

Throughout Beowulf's three fights he constantly had self pride and

showed his worth to everyone. However, as he got older and fought more battles

he realized that there was a possibility that he could die. As Beowulf gets

closer to death, he sees that his pride won't watch over his men or wear his

armor. After he realized that with fame came responsibility, he still was a

proud and boastful man.

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