beowulf essay

Submitted By confused1222
Words: 1054
Pages: 5

British Lit
Period 5
October 13, 2014

The Roles in Beowulf In every story line there are different roles of each character that live up to in order to exemplify their place in society, whether it’s the role of a hero or the role of a villain. In Beowulf there are many roles for each individual to play in order to make the society as a whole. In the kingdom, a person is going to represent one of the three categories listed: a thane, king, or a monster. The roles played in this story make up the importance of the plot, and all the conflicts that are brought into the kingdom. A thane is a member of any several aristocratic classes of men ranking between earls and ordinary freemen, and granted lands by the king or by lords for military service. They don’t play a very important part of the society, however, they do make up the population. A king is a man who holds by life tenure, and usually by hereditary right, the chief authority over a country and people. Lastly, a monster is an evil figure that brings doom to a place or area. One becomes king when they meet the expectations of a leader. They take on many responsibly for their kingdom. They step up on a higher level in order to protect their people. “Of living men he was the strongest, fearless and gallant of the heart. He gave command for a goodly vessel fitted and unfurnished..”(Line 130) Beowulf started off as a thane. He later proves himself to Hrothgar and is rewarded the throne. Beowulf is a true symbol of a king because he takes on the leadership for his people. Not only does he protect but also he reassures his people’s safety. Before Beowulf was even king he has generosity. When he had returned to his homeland he gifted the king and queen his treasure. Later on when he takes the throne, he demonstrates his capability of being a king. Like for an example, he prevents any type of evil or danger to enter his kingdom. He is able to keep danger away for 50 years. He is a true geatish hero, he is revealed as the strongest warrior out of all the men in the kingdom. He has the traits of a wise, intellectual, and ambiguous hero. Hrothgar was a contemplative and experienced leader too, however, the leadership of the two characters are fairly different. Beowulf prevents horror when it comes his way. When he is an older aged ruler he still has the determination to defeat the evil dragon in order to protect his kingdom instead of having warriors go out and battle for him. Before he dies he leaves the treasure for his people symbolizing his leadership as king. His battle represents his characteristics of an epic hero. All of the many monsters in Beowulf all portray a meaning in the Anglo-Saxon ideal. The monsters all have a meaning to their story. They represent the horror and nightmares they would bring to the German people that lived in their time. A majority of them were mythological creatures that had treasure that everyone wanted to retrieve. The purpose of these monsters was so a hero would come out and challenge their invasion. Grendel was one of the first monsters Grendel has encountered in his journey. “They call him Grendel, a demon grim haunting the fen-lands, holding the moors, ranging the wastes, where the wretched Wight made his lair with the monster kin..Grim and greedy the gruesome monster..” (Line 75) He is the main protagonist of the novel. Being the first monster Beowulf defeats, it gives Beowulf the confidence and determination to go onto bigger and more complicated things like facing other monsters. Without Grendel being apart of Beowulf’s journey, he would’ve never been able to experience hero like responsibilities when it comes to killing a creature that is invading. The dragon represents another example of the monster role in the novel. It is another battle Beowulf has to take as a leader when one of his coward men steal from the