Beowulf is an Old English epic poem created anywhere from 975 to 1025. Using the article Analysis of Characters in Beowulf one gets a chance to quickly bridge the gap in centuries. In the poem, Beowulf, a warrior and commander, deals with dangerous monsters and wonderful creatures. He battles them to safeguard those that require assistance and cannot withstand their opponents. Many literary scholars consider the poem an extremely important piece of Old English literature. It showcases the everyday life of Anglo-Saxon people in the 6th century, provides historical evidence of specific occasions, and loops several Scandinavian stories, historical occasions and myths.
In this article, we will look at Beowulf and all of the supporting characters around him.
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Characters Analysis in the Poem of Beowulf
Beowulf is the primary character of the poem. He comes to assist King Hrothgar, whose army Grendel terrorizes. Beowulf kills Grendel, and after that kills Grendel’s mother– who came after Beowulf to avenge her son. He after that ends ascends to the king’s throne of Geatland. However, his power as king was not calm; he gets struck by a fire-breathing dragon. The dragon injures Beowulf so severely that Beowulf passes away from his injuries.
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When mentioning his character traits, first and foremost, Beowulf embodies bravery. There are numerous events in which he shows how brave he remains in battles with beasts and mysterious creatures. In the text, we encounter such a narrative that portrays his fearlessness:
“Beowulf”, lines 2456-2461 “When he comes to me
I mean to stand, not run from his shooting
Flames, stand till fate decides
Which of us wins. My heart is firm,
My hands calm: I need no hot
At this juncture, Beowulf states that his “heart is firm”, which alludes that he is ready to face the dragon and withstand him regardless of how strong the dragon might be. This implies that Beowulf is brave, although he understood that on his own he did not stand a chance against the dragon.
Another quality of character immanent in Beowulf is toughness. He claims:
“Beowulf”, lines 602-605“But the truth
Is simple: no man swims in the sea
As I can, no strength is a match for mine”
Even though it may seem that Beowulf was boastful and that all his words were simply words, readers have an opportunity to see evidence of his testament throughout the poem. They see him defeat Grendel and his mother effortlessly, realizing that, undoubtedly, he was the greatest of all. He eliminated Grendel by ripping his arm out of his socket with the backing of 30 men.
An Enduring Warrior
Besides being an endure and strong warrior, the author portrays Beowulf as a really smart and righteous king who held dominion over Geatland. He managed to free his land and kingdom from wars and conflicts with various other people. And he ruled in harmony for over half a century until the dragon killed him.
The role of Beowulf in the poem is to show an instance of a strong and take-on warrior whose actions speak for themselves. Not only was he an experienced warrior, but also a smart, excellent king. To many of his subjects, he was a great real hero.
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Detailed Analysis of Characters in Beowulf -Hrothgar
Hrothgar was the King of the Danes. The author paints him as a great leader and a smart king. As one would expect, His subjects love him too. He constructed a gorgeous mead-hall for his tribe. Sadly, he was too old to encounter Grendel. Grendel was solid, and everyone, including Hrothgar, feared him and his rage. Hrothgar’s kids were way too young to stand up against Grendel as well. This is when Beowulf came to rescue Hrothgar, his family and the army from the horrible beast. Hrothgar showed his gratitude in regard to Beowulf’s commitment by gifting him a shield, equines, gold, and several other presents. The writer trivializes Hrothgar’s role. This is because although he was a fantastic king, he did not manage to encounter the monster.
When Beowulf, who had by then become the king of Geats, decided to withstand the flame-breathing dragon who intimidated his land and people, he fortified himself by using numerous men who accepted join him in the savage fight. Although, when the dragon turned up, out of every one of the men, only Wiglaf stayed and fought in a fight to the death alongside Beowulf.
Beowulf, lines 2666-68“Your deeds are famous, so stay resolute, my lord
Defend your life now with the whole of your strength.
I shall stand by you.”
It’s in these lines where we see that Wiglaf vouched his commitment to Beowulf to stick with him till the eleventh hour. Wiglaf measured up to his pledge and commitment. Not only did he fight along with Beowulf, but he also washed his wounds and fulfilled his last wishes prior to the latter’s demise. People rewarded Wiglaf for his kindness– he assumed the thrown as the next Geatish king. In the poem, Wiglaf is an example of a devoted, kind-hearted and valiant warrior– giving readers an instance of how individuals should treat their king.
As Beowulf and his army came to the mead-hall to help Hrothgar and his military battle Grendel, the Danes tossed them an exceptional celebration. After delighting in various celebrations, one thane, a Danish warrior called Unferth, started defaming Beowulf, treating him with disrespect and shame. Unferth did not believe that Beowulf had actually succeeded in all the accomplishments that he received accolades for. These included but were not limited to such acts as the swimming competition. Unferth is a juxtaposition to Beowulf. He exhibited poor moral reasoning; he was jealous of Beowulf and his strength.
Although after Beowulf had defeated Grendel, Unferth provided his sword to Beowulf to go eliminate Grendel’s mother. This act by Unferth showcases that he changed his mind and, nevertheless, he was not all that negative. The author created Unferth’s character to show what jealousy does to a person. It also additionally illustrates that everybody holds some good inside of them, and it manifests itself at the right moment.
Ecgtheow was Beowulf’s father. When he killed a man called Heatholaf. Due to this, he was in a blood-shedding war with a tribe called Wulfings. Attempting to get away from the problem and to avoid their revenge, he sought haven and found it in the Kingdom of the Danes ruled by King Hrothgar. Hrothgar. He took matters into his own hands, admitted his guilt to Wulfings, and they forgave Ecgtheow. In return, Ecgtheow pledged an oath of allegiance to Hrothgar. When Beowulf discovered Hrothgar’s trouble with Grendel, he decided to help Hrothgar by staying true to his dad’s oath and to meet it after his death. Beowulf mentioned his daddy as a “honourable battle-beater” (line 263), and revealed his respect and in loving memory.
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Grendel Character Analysis
Grendel was a monster that Beowulf had to combat to assist Hrothgar. In the quote listed below, we see that he had no mercy and terrorized Hrothgar’s warriors day after day.
“Beowulf” lines 140-148“The monster relished his savage war
On the Danes, keeping the bloody feud
Alive, seeking no peace, offering
No truce, accepting no settlement, no price
In gold or land, and paying the living
For one crime only with another. No one
Waited for reparation from his plundering claws:
That shadow of death hunted in the darkness,
Stalked Hrothgar’s warriors.”
Grendel was savage and harsh in his nature. He endured a curse that had befallen him as one of Cain’s descendants for killing his innocent brother Abel. He was lonely in nature; he had no pals and few family members. Another remarkable character of Grendel was jealous of the Danes– the great partnership they had with each other, their laughing, friendships and celebrations. He assaulted them every single time he heard the joy appearing from Heorot. His reaction symbolizes a strike on mankind as a whole and the concept of society. The writer depicted Grendel as an unforgiving, terrible, cruel and envious creature thriving to kill and destroy. He was a representation of every one of the wickedness worldwide.
Mom of Grendel
After Beowulf had killed Grendel, his mother decided to avenge his death. She represents despair, rage, misery, rage and love for her son. She believed that blood could be settled with blood. Her motherly love therefore attempted to kill Beowulf by tricking him to visit her cave. She fails and Beowulf kills her. In the poem, she stands for a “monster-woman” gone insane from her loss who prepares to do anything to pay back Beowulf for her terrible son’s demise.
The dragon was another, and the final, monster that Beowulf combated. After Beowulf’s peaceful reign of over half a century, the dragon attacked Geats. Somebody had stolen his prize, and in rage, the dragon destroyed every little thing and everybody that went along. He burnt residences and killed innocent individuals. Much like Grendel, in his nature he was merciless, and absolutely nothing might stop him from spreading horror. He was greedy, the polar opposite of King Beowulf’s kindness.
There are lots of other characters in Beowulf who have formed complex relationships with each other and have various attributes. In the post Analysis of Characters in Beowulf, we look at the major characters, like Beowulf; Hrothgar; Wiglaf; Unferth and the 3 monsters.
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Feel a Little Lost in These Difficult Issues?
Beowulf is a complex piece of literary work. In order to totally appreciate it, one calls for strong expertise in Anglo-Saxon myths and tales, the culture and history of Scandinavia, and historical referrals to other themes, and principles. Needless to say, the Analysis of Characters in Beowulf serves that very purpose.
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