Example Of Motivation In Beowulf

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No Swords for Me
(An Analysis of The Motivations behind Beowulf’s Actions)
“Beowulf poem is primarily a kind of elegy for the departed hero, who, in this poetic enshrining of the past, enables a past culture to both survive and to be reborn.” (Tolkien) Beowulf is an Old English epic poem that is often times regarded as the oldest surviving epic poem of this culture. Therefore Beowulf is commonly cited as the most important work of Anglo-Saxon literature. Within the poem, Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, comes to the aid of Hrothgar, a king of the Danes who is currently under attack by a monster known as Grendel. This Epic then follows the hero Beowulf through his venture to slay both Grendel and Grendel’s mother. The tale then continues, following
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Beowulf was an individual that spent most of his time attempting to achieve glory, and in order to do that he felt as though it was necessary to contribute as much as he possibly could. “Beowulf ought to be viewed as having the disposition of a glory-seeker . . . traveling to Denmark to fight Grendel.” (Gwara) The ongoing belief within Beowulf was that if an individual possessed an ability that was somehow beneficial to said individual’s people, they had an obligation to help. This reason alone was one of the most significant motivators for Beowulf in his initial decision to come and rid Hrothgar’s kingdom of the Grendel the monster. Beowulf was not being forced to go help Hrothgar, and could have gone on relatively unscathed without even looking in Hrothgar’s direction, though he felt as though he had an obligation to assist. “A single request! I have come so far, / Oh shelterer of warriors and your people’s loved friend, / That this one favor you should not refuse me— / That I, alone and with the help of my men, / May purge all evil from this hall.” (Beowulf) Beowulf was motivated by his need to do his duties, because it was the belief among himself and those around him that an individual could not achieve glory without doing the things they ought to do. Beowulf did not necessarily have to help Hrothgar, though in his own eyes, he really had no other …show more content…
. . that holds the epic together.” (Fisher) Beowulf is one of the greatest reflections that is available of Anglo-Saxon thought and culture. The hero Beowulf is one of the few portraits of the Old English people that is available for reflection, and therefore must be very closely scrutinized in order to pull as many details as possible. One of the most important aspects of this portrait is the motivations behind the hero’s decision making because it displays not only the system of beliefs of the culture but also the general order of priorities among the people. With Beowulf it is clear that most of the decisions made were based on three significant things; the constant need to ensure that one’s duties were being done, the fight for glory and respect and the nature of fate itself. Though the idea of Beowulf and his complete selflessness was very obviously exaggerated for the purpose of the epic, it is clear to see that his beliefs are a solid reflection of the people involved in the creation of his

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