Grendel’s Mother and Beowulf Essay

Jessica Savan English Composition I 1101-74 Beowulf Talk is easy, but actions speak louder than words. In Beowulf’s case, his actions spoke just as loud as his words. This quote from the book, “Anyone with gumption and a sharp mind will take measure of two things: what’s said, and what’s done” (Heaney 21) can be directly related to Beowulf. Many figures have had much to say, but what have they done? Beowulf made certain to stay true to his promises, far-fetched as they may have been. If he said he was going to kill a man-eating monster, there was no doubt that he would do it. Beowulf was born into a royal family.

Almost everyone knew of him and respected him. He was incredibly “likable”. He did not have to convince anyone to approve of him or think highly of him. To Beowulf, it seemed that it did not matter what others thought of him. He thought highly of himself and although he was not respected in his youth, he grew to be quite something. I believe that he gained more respect than ever when he sought out to kill Grendel, and actually succeeded. Like him or not, Beowulf reminds us in some way or another of what we look for in a hero. He didn’t put a price on life. Everything he did, he did without fear.

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He would enter duels and battles with the utmost courage and confidence in his soon-to-be victory. Perhaps this is what set him apart from any other man of his time. Many people who read Beowulf now could consider him to be somewhat boastful, but it was this extreme confidence that led him to victory time and time again. In his time, this “boastfulness” that we consider rude now, was cherished then. If a man as great as Beowulf didn’t boast every moment that he had a chance to, then there wouldn’t have been any songs sung in his honor, no odes written for him, and no praises directed towards him.

He boasted often but had reason to, and those around him loved it. Beowulf carried his virtues wherever he would go. He was marked by honesty, courage, and trust. “Often, for undaunted courage, fate spares the man it has not already marked” (Heaney 39). This quote from the poem definitely refers directly to Beowulf. Beowulf continues to surprise the readers with this “undaunted courage” described in the poem. His courage caused fate to spare him. There were so many circumstances in which it would have been easy for Beowulf to die.

He was put in situations where the reader’s teeth start gritting because of the brutality of the scene, but there was just something about Beowulf that wouldn’t let him die. For example, when Beowulf had his encounter with Grendel, due to previous descriptions of Grendel’s nature, it seemed almost certain that Beowulf had no chance of survival. Maybe, just like in the previous quote, it was fate that didn’t let him die. Whatever it was, it allowed Beowulf to come out of duels and battles victorious, and kept him marching forward.

Personally, I admire Beowulf and see him to be a role model for all of us. If only we could all display the same level of courage and go through life, tackling our day to day struggles fearlessly, I’m sure that a lot more of us would reach successes in life that, as of now, we fear are not within our grasp. Beowulf teaches us to ignore the statements of others, ignore the odds of winning, and to not doubt what we are capable of. Beowulf is a poem of courage, and it was this courage that made Beowulf one of the greatest men of his time.