Trails of Heroic Fate of Beowulf

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Trails of heroic fate of Beowulf
Introduction
The narrative of epic poem Beowulf consists of three episodes in which the hero is engaged in the peculiar mission of fighting with three fabulous monsters (Fisher 1958, p.173). The first monster Grendel is quickly defeated; the second, Grendel’s dam is depicted with greater elaboration but also ends in demise at the hands of Beowulf; and the eventual dragon, distanced from the previous two in a span of fifty years, brings the heroic career of aging Beowulf to an end. The unity of Beowulf’s three fights from ease to death, perceived by some researchers like Klaeber (1950), holds the epic together. Others see the epic poem more than a collection of three different fights in a hero’s life, but it is united and intertwined by two parts—the fights with Grendel and his dam and the final dragon fight—signaling “the opposition of hero and king, youth and age, the beginning and ending of a life achievement” (Tolkien 1936). On the basis of this premise, Fisher (1958) conceives the theme of the epic as the “doom of Beowulf”, the integration of “redemption and judgment treated in a way which skillfully blends the Germanic hero with the Christian saint” (p.171). Wrenn (1958) states the similar notion, arguing Beowulf, a Germanic hero, shows his greatest splendor “ not alone in winning glory by victory, but rather by finding his supremely noble qualities especially in the moment of death in battle”. The essay aims to analyze the three fights in detail in Beowulf’s lifetime and, shed light on the heroic fate of him from success to death. Analytical emphasis will be put on distinctions of three monsters, weapons that Beowulf wields in the battle and the consequences ensuing the three battles.

The first fight
The narrator starts the poem with a brief introduction of Shield Sheafson, a great king of Denmark and his royal line of…...

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