Beowulf and His Pride

Alan Spivak
9-18-96

One of Beowulf\'s main characteristics is his ever present pride. To
most protagonists their pride is usually explained by a friend or narrator.
However, Beowulf is one who likes to show the whole world how important and
valuable he is to them. Through out the chapters which we have read it seems as
though the whole point in the book is to show off his strength. He presents
himself before a fight with boasting and an ostentatious manner of fighting.
When Beowulf was a little boy he wanted to show his strength and entered
a race with his friend Breeca. He knew that he would win with no effort at all,
but then, due to a storm, he lost his way. While Beowulf was trying to return
to land he managed to kill nine sea monsters with his bare hands and still
caught up to Brecca. He apparently bragged to such an extent that everyone in
Scandinavia knew about this race and the courageous way he cleared the sea of
evil. He, at this young age, had no need to think about death. All he
thought about was foolishly having fun and proving himself to the spectators.
When Beowulf fought with Grendel, the demon who was terrorizing Herot
Hall, he came there boasting about how worthy he was to fight for Denmark. The
people accepted him as a deserving warrior and permitted him to do what ever he
needed to rid them of Grendel. Beowulf wanted to fool Grendel into thinking
that he was sleeping so that Grendel would try to kill him, but instead Beowulf
would terminate him. That night Grendel did come and fell right into Beowulf\'s
trap. Beowulf had Grendel in his hands, but no matter how strong Beowulf was
the demon escaped missing only an arm. Grendel would soon die in his lair
because of blood loss, but Beowulf was unhappy that he could not stretch
Grendel\'s body on the floor. However, he still hung Grendel\'s arm, just to
show how only he was strong enough to kill the monster. This time when Beowulf
went to fight he told the king that if he would die then the king should give
Beowulf\'s armor to its rightful owner.
In Beowulf\'s next fight with Grendel\'s mother, he showed once more that
he was capable of such an adventurous task. There was no soldier brave enough
to take on a monster that lives in the pits of hell and thrives on the bodies of
innocent men. However, Beowulf ostentatiously jumped into the fiery lake and
once more showed to the whole world that he was the greatest warrior of all time.
Beowulf, maturing, told the king to take care of his armor and more
importantly, to make sure that his soldiers don\'t remain leaderless. He
realized that there are other people he has a responsibility for besides himself.
Throughout Beowulf\'s three fights he constantly had self pride and
showed his worth to everyone. However, as he got older and fought more battles
he realized that there was a possibility that he could die. As Beowulf gets
closer to death, he sees that his pride won\'t watch over his men or wear his
armor. After he realized that with fame came responsibility, he still was a
proud and boastful man.

Category: English