Attaining glory before death is a true warrior’s ultimate pursuit. In the medieval epic Beowulf, our larger-than-life hero will not let any barrier stand in the way of his quest. Evil, hell-bent monsters descended from Cain and fire-breathing dragons don’t intimidate him. Beowulf’s friends advise him to not always go looking for trouble, but he disregards them. The only thing that matters to Beowulf is achieving immortality by laying his enemies to rest. Beowulf’s egocentric quest for glory results in the death of himself and his people. Therefore, fate in Beowulf acts as the enforcer of justice “? rightful deeds are rewarded while improper actions are punished. Beowulf’s first challenge is to defeat Grendel, a “fiend out of hell.” (100) Every night, Grendel mercilessly attacks “a company of the best” sleeping in the legendary mead-hall Heorot, “insensible to pain / and human sorrow.” (118 -120) Beowulf hears the horrific stories about Grendel, and sails across the sea to Heorot with his best warriors at his side. Even before seeing Grendel with his own eyes, Beowulf arrogantly asserts, “When it comes to fighting, I count myself / as dangerous any day as Grendel. / So it won’t be a cutting edge I’ll wield / to mow him down, easily as I might. / He has no idea of the arts of war, / of shield or sword-play, although he does possess / a wild strength. No weapons, therefore, / for either this night: unarmed he shall face me / if face me he dares”. (677-685) Beowulf’s unlimited courage and utter confidence is simply astounding. He defeats Grendel, the “God-cursed brute” by ripping off his shoulder. (121) Grendel deserved to die, because he had been senselessly killing innocent men at Heorot for 12 years. Beowulf’s good deeds were “praised over and over again.” (856) Hrothgar proclaimed “you have made yourself immortal / by your glorious action.” (953-954) There was a great …
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