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Beowulf’s Reputation Creates His Story

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Beowulf’s Reputation Creates His Story

    In Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf, the Geat warrior defeats the most perilous monsters who terrorize Heorot, Grendel and his mother. His reputation grows and over some time he takes the Geat throne to rule for fifty years. He is faced with his final opponent, a dragon, who Beowulf slays, but is killed soon after, ending his story.  In this work, reputation is a main contributor of how Beowulf is victorious in battle and his rise to power. Beowulf’s audaciousness and victory in his battles with Grendel and the dragon develop his worth revealing that reputation is a primary component of the greatest Anglo-Saxon warriors and essential to their success in life as it gives them power and confidence. Reputation is developed when  Beowulf is going to his first battle.

When Beowulf announces that he will fight Grendel unarmed and shieldless, he is growing his reputation by making his battle honorable against an opponent who doesn’t follow the traditional rules of battle. Beowulf announces the reason he has come to Heorot with Hrothgar and the rest of the hall. Beowulf further goes into detail about his conditions in the battle with Grendel  when he says, “... I hereby renounce/ sword and the shelter of the broad shield,/ the heavy war-board: hand-to-hand/ is how it will be, a life-and-death/fight with the fiend.”(Heaney 436-440). Beowulf is making the battle with Grendel on even terms by using the same weapons as him, their hands.  Grendel’s immense strength poses a great threat to Beowulf, so when he disclosed that he will fight without protective armor and hand-to-hand with Grendel, he is putting his life at risk. But Beowulf understands the importance of honor in battle as an Anglo-Saxon so after he defeats Grendel he will gain much respect and repute for his courage. Because power is often given to those who have a great reputation and who are very well respected in Anglo-Saxon culture, Beowulf’s achievement will help him become suitable for becoming King of the Geats through the people’s approval later on. If his fame had not grown as large as it is, Beowulf could of possibly not become the future King of the Geats. This is the first time Beowulf has been courageous in battle and has come out victorious laying a road for his further feats.

    Before his final battle with the sky-plague, Beowulf again gives his opponent the advantage, but this ultimately grows his reputation more when he defeats the dragon. Beowulf believes that the dragon is not much of a threat to him so he doesn’t bring an entire army to face the monster, but

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