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Beowulfs Three Epic Battles
(Rebekah)Beowulf is stated to be the mightiest man on earth (197) in the Anglo-Saxon region during this time period. He was not only a prince, but a great warrior and hero. Beowulf had three significant battles in his life, all of which were fought to protect his people as well as others, with, of course, the added benefit of the glory and fame that comes with such great triumphs. After hearing of the torment King Hrothgar and his people had endured for twelve years at the hands of a monster known as Grendel, he set out on his journey to leave his home in Geats and travel to the land of Heorot and King Hrothgars aid. This is Beowulfs first great battle. This battle takes place in the great hall of King Hrothgar. Beowulf and his men lay and waited for Grendels imminent strike. When Grendel attacked, Beowulf did too. Unfortunately, his men were unable to help him due to the fact that swords could not slice the creatures skin. Grendel was able to retreat, but not before Beowulf twisted his arm, ripping it from his body. Grendel succumb to his fatal injury, but not before reaching his lair. This is where Grendels mother found him. The discovery of her sons body stirred her rage and spurred her desire for vengeance, which leads to Beowulfs second battle. Grendels mother, determined to reclaim her sons missing limb and destroy those who have taken her childs life, attacks the Danes inside the hall, killing Hrothgars trusted counselor and retrieved her sons limb. Beowulf, once again, comes to Hrothgars aid. This second battle takes place in the mires near Heorot, in the lake where Grendels mother dwelt. This time, Beowulf fights with full armor. While he quickly realizes that his sword is useless against the she demon, his chainmail prevents him from being shredded by her claws and those of the other lake creatures. Fortunately, Beowulf grasp an ancient sword that rested in the lake demons collection and swung it at her, severing her neck and killing her instantly. Her poisonous blood melted the sword, leaving only the hilt in Beowulfs hand. So, in true heroic fashion, Beowulf returned wielding the ancient sword hilt to present to king Hrothgar and the Grendels head to display in the great hall (1639).
Beowulfs last and final battle takes place fifty years later in his homeland of Geats, where he now sits as king. A dragon, woken and enraged by a would-be thief trying to steal the its gold, has wreaked havoc on the land with fire. Beowulfs pride is still unyielding, and motivates him to face the sky-plague alone (2345-2347). Only one of Beowulfs faithful men, Wiglaf, came to his aid. The length of this battle was longer that the other two and would prove to be Beowulfs final act as a warrior. While Beowulf did strike the final blow, eviscerating the fiery serpent, he was ultimately consumed by the poison from the dragons claws that had dug in deep to his back.
These three epic battles of Beowulf proclaim his bravery as a warrior and a king, but was ultimately his downfall. His desire for glory came only second to his efforts to rid the lands of demons and to provide safety to his people.
Heaney, Seamus.Beowulf: A New Verse Translation. 2000
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