Reputation In Beowulf

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The epic poem Beowulf was written in Old English by an unknown author in England during the eighth or ninth century. It takes place in Scandinavia during the beginning of the sixth century and illustrates the idea of a traditional Anglo-Saxton hero. Beowulf is a god-like hero who courageously sets out to defeat the monster Grendel as a way to repay his father’s debt, and increases his heroic status by conquering Grendel’s mother and the dragon. Reputation and a person’s lineage are themes used throughout the poem to describe where kings, thanes, and monsters came from. Because Beowulf’s father had already tainted the family name, along with the loss of his swimming match against Breca, Beowulf felt the need to undo his father’s damage to his…show more content…
Beowulf’s father, Ecgtheow, “began the greatest feuds” for killing Heatholaf, and was denied by everyone except Hrothgar for refuge (16). Hrothgar not only helps Ecgtheow earn back his honor by paying off his debt for killing Heatholaf, but he provides Ecgtheow with enough money and resources to be able to return to home. Since Hrothgar showed Beowulf’s family a great deal of hospitality and generosity, Beowulf traveled to the Danes to return the same generosity and kill the monster that had been terrorizing and killing Hrothgar’s men. The monster Grendel, gives Beowulf a way to not only pay back Hrothgar’s kind act towards his family, but also a way to restore honor to his family name and improve his heroic reputation by killing this monster that has been undefeatable for twelve…show more content…
Despite the fact that Beowulf has already won the acceptance of Unferth, who “had forgotten all those taunts he flung when tipsy with wine,” he still has a desire to prove himself and secure his status as a hero to the Dane people (49). Unferth loans Beowulf Hrunting, a sword that has never failed in battle, as a gesture to Beowulf being the better warrior. Even though Hrunting breaks and fails Beowulf in battle, he is still successful at killing the hellish monster. Once Beowulf resurfaces, he does not have the profuse amount of treasures that were in Grendel’s mother’s cave, but instead Grendel’s enormous head. Grendel’s head was so hard to move that it “was no easy matter for those courageous men, bold as kings, to carry the head away from the cliff” (pg. 54). Instead of getting treasures for the Danes or even his own people, he brings back Grendel’s head that provides no real gain other than a symbol of how courageous and heroic he was. Beowulf does this because he had remorse for not delivering Grendel’s dead body to the Danes, but also because he wanted to ensure that stories of his courageous acts and god-like heroism spreads among rapidly among a vast number of people and

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