Theme Of Betrayal In Beowulf

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Betrayal in Beowulf When Beowulf goes on his quest to slay the dragon, everyone except for Wiglaf “runs for their lives to the safety of the wood” (175). To be fair, Beowulf is quite old at this point, so his men probably are not as confident in his abilities as they used to be. Still, Wiglaf gives them hell for their cowardice, referencing how they “pledged their loyalty” when “mead was flowing” and nothing was around to challenge their allegiance (177). The men still aren’t convinced, and continue to hightail it out of there. The situation alludes quite nicely to the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus’s disciples abandon him after having sworn similar allegiances. In that sense, the betrayal serves to further illuminate the way…show more content…
While Beowulf has lived a long, successful life and although he has plenty of men to send off to the fight the dragon, he decides to fight the dragon himself and risk the safety of his people for the chance at one more shot at old times. Despite the narrator’s positive portrayal of him in the earlier parts of the poem, in this scene, readers must weigh Beowulf’s ego against his kingly duty as a protector. His men do not support the unnecessary risk Beowulf takes, and the venture ends in his death. While it is clear that Beowulf’s men betrayed their pledged loyalty to Beowulf by fleeing, Beowulf arguably enacts a similar betrayal in his pursuit of another accomplishment at the expense of the Geats he was supposed to…show more content…
Physically, he has the ability to become an animal, and emotionally, many in his situation would want to abandon humanity altogether and embrace the werewolf lifestyle. However, even though he has ample and justified opportunity to do so, he maintains a sense of shame and of virtue. His ex-wife, on the other hand, prostitutes herself and gives into her animalistic nature immediately after she finds out about her husband’s transformations. The fact that she even finds out indicates her poor character. She pressures her husband and accuses him of affairs to get what she wants. When Bisclavret finally gets his revenge, he again shows his self-control by simply loping off her nose instead of killing her. Marie has him do this to show where the lady’s true priorities lie: in her appearance. The betrayal offers Bisclavret a foil to show Marie’s appreciation and expectation of relationships based on balanced, heart-driven love, not merely physical, animalistic
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