Beowulf's Reputation Essay

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Founding Father Benjamin Franklin once said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it”. If there is one man who has the experience to verify this statement, it is the monster-slayer Beowulf. In his lifetime, living in Geatland, Scandinavia, meant being judged as an individual primarily by past deeds and the family tree. Though Beowulf’s reputation had carried him through life on the model of the ideal hero, he came close to losing it all when he accepted a proposition from Grendel’s mother. Early in the film, there is already evidence that Beowulf’s reputation precedes him. His heroic deeds speak volumes about his possession of many of the desired traits of a warrior. When the demon, Grendel, terrorizes King Hrothgar 's mead hall, he tells his men, “What we need is a hero”. When Beowulf arives soon after, the king is relieved to learn that “Edgethow’s little boy” has come to slay their demon. Beowulf’s famed achievements and respectable ancestry depict him as the solution to Denmark 's curse. In fact, King Hrothgar is so convinced of Beowulf’s impending success that he presents him with gifts that could soon be…show more content…
Not all the kings ' subjects have unwavering faith in Beowulf. One man, Unferth, attempts to ridicule him and instill doubt about his capabilities in the minds of the people. Unferth tries to twist Beowulf’s past to embarrass him, claiming that the man who lost a mere swimming match against the warrior, Breca, could never hope to defeat Grendel. Interestingly enough, Unferth’s attack on Beowulf’s past stems from his insecurities in his own past. Beowulf however, remains unphased, and after learning of Unferth’s father (Ecglaf) he retaliates. He calls Unferth “kinslayer”, a great insult that leaves him
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