Beowulf Essay

Submitted By wingatebound
Words: 897
Pages: 4

Picking up the Pieces What is a nation to do when everything they stand for is gone? This is the unfolding story in the poem Beowulf. Beowulf is a Geat warrior who sacrifices his own safety to battle the evil that presents itself against the Danes in the form of the fierce monster Grendel. King Hrothgar and the Danes exemplify pride, happiness, and power before Grendel steals everything from them when he attacks what is dearest to King Hrothgar's heart: Herot, the glorious palace built for celebration. Once Grendel makes his initial appearance, it takes a miracle to bring celebration back into the hearts of the Danes. Before Grendel begins his reign of terror, Herot is a place of pride. People everywhere can see its beauty and stature as it reaches “higher toward Heaven than anything that had ever been known to the sons of men" (Beowulf 25). With golden pillars and remarkable architecture, Herot symbolizes hope and joy. Shame replaces pride when the Danes cannot stand against Grendel. This horrifying monster overpowers the Danes on every front. Nothing they can do will stop Grendel and his vindictive nature. Beowulf's journey begins here when he does something no mortal man can do; he defeats Grendel. By the grace of God, Beowulf restores the Danes' pride and then some. A characteristic of a hero is humility and Beowulf does not possess this trait in the slightest. Though this seems negative, it benefits the Danes as Beowulf's conceit brings pride back to these countrymen. Grendel may have originally stole away their pride, but Beowulf brings it back. Herot used to be the epitome of happiness and joy. Anybody who came near to Herot instantly became blanketed by peace because supposedly nothing could ever harm it. That is until Grendel decides to intercede. Grendel hears the happiness and euphoria erupting from Herot while in his cave. Jealousy ensues and he can no longer stand hearing the joy when he is miserable and alone. Instead of creating his own happiness, Grendel steals the Danes’. By Grendel killing people and stealing their bodies, Herot becomes a house of sorrow. When Grendel is finally defeated, the Danes rejoice for Beowulf has come through triumphant. In all this happiness, though, there is still someone who the joy cannot touch. Grendel’s mother is heartbroken over the death of her son and she is seeking vengeance. As Grendel did before, his mother takes the life of a noble soldier, snatching away the happiness just as it is returned. Beowulf dives back into a fierce battle that goes back and forth until the brave warrior is able to win the battle, but he does not do it for the Danes’ per se. During a time when Beowulf is struggling, the poet writes “but Beowulf longed only for fame, leaped back into battle” (Beowulf 71). Even though Beowulf yearns only for the notoriety of the victory, this minor indiscretion does not faze the Danes’ as they are the ones benefitting. The joy is returned and they are finally jubilant again. Having power is something the Danes and many others respect. Not only do they respect it, they deem power a necessity. Without it, others will assume they can obliterate and overthrow the Danes with ease. The Danes grew accustomed to putting angst into the eyes of those around them, but Grendel changed that by putting dread into theirs. Power is transferred through the