Theme Of Vengeance In Beowulf

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Vengeance in Beowulf One of the most important elements in Anglo-Saxon society is the adherence to the heroic code. This code values bravery, courage, glory, and fame in a warrior. If a warrior could demonstrate these qualities perfectly, he was considered a hero. However, heroism in Beowulf is not spontaneous actions, but instead, it is a product of seeking revenge for a wrongdoing. This pattern of vengeance gives warriors an opportunity to prove themselves as heroes and keeps the tribe together. The importance of vengeance is made immediately clear by Beowulf’s introduction. The introduction is laden with the importance of honoring the Germanic code. It is not only Beowulf’s bravery that inspires Hrothgar to trust him. Beowulf’s desire …show more content…
After Hrothgar constructed Herot, there was nightly music which radiated from the battle-hall. This music talked of how “The Almighty making the earth, shaping these beautiful plains marked off by oceans… The Almighty drove these demons out, and their exile was bitter (“Beowulf” 40-57).” This causes Grendel, a demon, great pain and impatience (“Beowulf” 35), and he decides to exact revenge. Every night, Grendel enters the town and stealthily kills up to thirty men (“Beowulf” …show more content…
Beowulf, a Geat, has heard of these terrible actions and wants to pursue personal fame and immorality (to never be forgotten). These are two elements of the Germanic heroic code in regards to warriors. When speaking to Hrothgar, Beowulf states that he is there to “purge all evil from this hall…God must decide who will be given to death’s cold grip (“Beowulf” 148-150).” He is not only there to simply stop Grendel, but he is also there to exact revenge by killing the fiend. Beowulf’s heroism is not a spontaneous act of kindness. It is the pursuit of personal glory and an act of vengeance. In Beowulf’s culture, heroism is a response to a call for revenge. The cycle of vengeance continues with Grendel’s mother. She is distraught and enraged over the death of her son and decides that those responsible must pay the price. This statement is evidenced by the following quote: “…And now it was known that a monster had died but a monster still lived, and meant revenge. She’d brooded on her loss, misery had brewed in her heart, that female horror, Grendel’s mother (“Beowulf” 303-306).” In her anger and need for revenge, she kills Hrothgar’s closest friend and advisor, and retrieves the severed arm of her slain son (“Beowulf” Canto

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