Examples Of Greed In Beowulf

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Greed is a ravenous monster; an insatiable parasite of the mind, which feasts on mankind’s noble ambitions. In Burton Raffel’s translation of the epic, Beowulf, the super human protagonist faces obstacles no other man in the land could face. Beowulf is a man of great deeds, with a narcissistic character. His eminence, though brought upon by his own fearless victories, is a façade, covering the creature lurking within him. Though Beowulf is a noble savior, secret motivations seethe behind his carefully constructed character. Beowulf is an arrogant man who constantly tries to surpass all other men. The hero is fueled by his greed for power, and boasts of his greatness before battling Grendel. “‘My people… have seen my strength for themselves,/…show more content…
Initially, the hero seeks fame, but before he defeats Grendel, he gets a taste of celebratory incentive. “‘But to table, Beowulf, a banquet in your honor:/ Let us toast your victories, and talk of the future...’” (Raffel 223-224). Beowulf learns from King Hrothgar that good deeds should not go unrewarded, which reinforces the materialistic desires of the protagonist. After Grendel’s death, King Hrothgar spoils Beowulf even more, then continues to offer bribes to destroy Grendel’s mother. “‘... Save us,/ Once more, and again twisted gold,/ Heaped-up ancient treasure, will reward you/ For the battle you win” (Raffel 446-449)! Since Beowulf did not tell the Danes he would help them merely to be generous, it is easily inferred that Beowulf accepted Hrothgar’s offer in his lust for gold. The morals of the savior are corrupted by the cravings he felt for his new golden idol. “...So gold can easily/ Triumph, defeat the strongest of men,/ No matter how deep it is hidden” (Raffel 776-777)! After Beowulf is defeated, the narrator includes the major theme that greed can kill even the noblest of men; a lesson exemplified by the hero’s life and death. Beowulf’s avarice motivated him to the point of recklessness and his own

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