Theme Of Courage In Beowulf

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Beowulf’s Bravery

Beowulf, in the famous medieval poem of the same name, is the courageous and mighty protagonist in the story. He is a fierce warrior that is much beloved by his people and followers, as well as those he has helped through the years with vanquishing monsters and such. With every challenge that comes his way and through every battle he partakes in, he shows a tremendous amount of bravery, something that is most admired knowing the danger he constantly places himself in. There are 2 kinds of courage that Beowulf demonstrates throughout the poem; these include both passive and active courage. Active courage is exactly how it sounds, its the act of displaying and being courageous while actually doing an impressive feat like slaying
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This was not something that had been accomplished by any other man because Grendel’s mother’s lair was in the very depths of the lake, far away from human eyes at the surface. This scene could also be used as an example of passive courage because before Beowulf goes into the lake, knowing the dangers that await him, he tells his men to wait at the surface. He says to Hrothgar, “to send Hygelac the treasures I recieved. Let the lord of the Geats gase on that gold....And Unferth is to have what I inherited”(Heaney, lines 1482-1488, Beowulf). He’s preparing both the king and his men for the event of his death, in case it were to happen beneath the water. After that speech though, he plummets into the abyss. Going back to the active courage idea, the poet describes his descent into her world as such; “after these words, the prince of the Weather Geats was impatient to be away and plunged suddenly: without more ado, he dived into the heaving depths of the lake. It was the best part of a day before he could see the solid bottom...She lunged and clutched and managed to catch him in her brutal grip; but his body, for all that, remained unscathed.”(Heaney, lines 1492-1503, Beowulf). Again, he is so unconcerned about what he is about to do, so much so that he is actually eager to …show more content…
Beowulf’s last battle is with a dragon who has grown angry and is set on destroying Beowulf’s kingdom over some stolen treasure. Beowulf, although by this time is old and has not been in action for quite some time now, is no less confident that he can take on the dragon once the dragon becomes a threat to his royal hall. He feels his abilities are not diminished since he did so well in his younger days with conquering Grendel and his mother. In almost no time at all while fighting the dragon, he realizes that he no longer has the power and strength he once had and is fatally injured in the neck by the dragon. Even though knowing his end was near, Beowulf; “once again, the king gathered his strength and drew a stabbing knife he carried on his belt, sharpened for battle. He struck it deep into the dragon’s flank. Beowulf dealt it a deadly wound” (lines 2702-2706). He gets sicker soon after the dragon’s death and he tells his only warrier that stayed beside him, Wiglaf that his time has come. Although he was slowly dying in the process of fighting the dragon, he did not give up and stop fighting it. He continued through his pain and after the fact, he was ready to take his leave of the world with honor and triumph, making him a truly courageous king and

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