To begin, Beowulf exhibited many characteristics that suggested proper heroic qualities. “ He was strong, an outstanding fighter and very loyal to all who came into his presence” (Killenbeck, and Orci). When Beowulf had to present himself to kill Grendel, he made sure he did it with the upmost care to the people, their belongings, and Heorot. The people of Heorot, which made his determination to defeat Grendel even more powerful, invited him into a great feast before the battle. After he defeated the great Grendel, he was praised for his work and this only made Beowulf more loyal to these people of Heorot. Another great heroic aspect of Beowulf was the fact “he believed that no fighter should have the upper hand” (Killenbeck and Orci). Any fight that took place was thought to be as fair as possible. When Beowulf had to fight Grendel he knew that
the dragon had no extra equipment to increase his chances of conquering, therefore Beowulf didn’t take on any extra equipment and believed, “when it comes to fighting, I count myself as dangerous any day as Grendel” (Beowulf, line 677-678). Both Grendel and Beowulf believed they were excellent warriors and were ready to prove it. “Venturing closer, his talon was rai…
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…his change within, but they still had faith. Beowulf was their ideal hero and despite his imperfections, they believed in him until the very end.
“Beowulf.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume A: The Middle Ages, 8th ed. Ed. Greenblatt, Stephen, and M.H. Abrams. New York: W.W. Norton
A Comparison of the Weavers of Peace in Beowulf and Grendel
The Weavers of Peace in Beowulf and Grendel
Queen Wealhtheow and Queen Hygd served as excellent role models for the courts in which they served. They exemplified the mannerisms and etiquette of the noble people. Queen Wealhtheow showed excellent poise from the very beginning of both texts. She was admirable as she passed the mead bowl around Heorot. The offering of the bowl was symbolic, being that the bowl was first given to Hrothgar and then passed to Beowulf, as if she presented him with her trust. Beowulf gave Wealhtheow his guarantee that he would be successful or die in battle. After she presented Hrothgar and Beowulf with the mead bowl she served the Scyldings, and did so as if they were her own people. She was not a Scylding, nor did she desire to be one, but she never made her unhappiness known, as described in Grendel. There is not great detail on Queen Hygd in Grendel, but from what the reader can gather from Beowulf, she is as much of a female role model as Queen Wealhtheow. She was young but very intelligent. In fact King Hygelac felt intimidated by Hygd’s intelligence.
In both texts, Beowulf and Grendel, the main purpose of the Queens are to serve the courts as “weavers of peace.” In Grendel, however, Queen Wealththeow is described in much greater detail and serves a further purpose. The reader gains insight to a part Grendel that is not present in Beowulf, his desire for a human. For even though in Beowulf and Grendel, the main purpose of the queens is to serve the courts as “weavers of peace,” the queens also serve other purposes as role models, preservers of their kingdoms, emotional beings, mother figures and objects of beauty and lust.
It was not unusual for women to be offered as tokens of peace within the noble courts. In the novel Grendel, Wealhtheow’s brother, King of the Helmings, bestowed her to King Hrothgar to promote peace amongst the Helmings and Scyldings. “She had given, her life for those she loved. So would any simpering, eyelash batting female in her court, given the proper setup, the minimal conditions”(Grendel 102). It is ironic how she promoted peace from her arrival because she was an essential part in keeping peace, as the “weaver of peace” in both texts. Queen Wealhtheow however is not the only woman in the texts that was forsaken to encourage appeasement among feuding courts.