Translated by Burton Raffel
Beowulf, translated by Burton Raffel is a story that fits perfectly into the epic hero genre. Beowulf, the main protagonist, is a Geat with superhuman abilities that takes down the evil within the Danish land. He is the definition of a hero. He is a courageous leader who takes down evil and brings peace to the people he is protecting. Throughout the story Beowulf is faced with many challenges, but at the end he is able to overcome them no matter the circumstance.
Everyone has flaws even Beowulf even if he does not want to admit it. His flaw is arrogance, which almost got him killed. Grendel is no braver, no stronger than I am! I could kill him my sword; I shall not. (Raffel 44). Beowulf knows that he is able to kill Grendel with his sword, but his arrogance gets in the way and he decides to go in and fight him with his bare hands. The reason why he says and does this is for the exact same reason he came to the Danish land and that was for glory. Beowulf says earlier in a chapter that Grendel does not use weapons and he wants to fight in the same way. Beowulf is a great warrior he knows his own strength. He has talked about killing giants and sea monsters, so he feels that he does not need weapons to fight Grendel which is his arrogance coming into play.
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A hero’s resurrection is one of the most important part of the story. Beowulf’s resurrection is after he fights Grendel’s mother.Then the noble protector of all seamen swam to land, rejoicing in the heavy burdens he was bringing with him. He and all glorious band of Geats thanked God that their leader has come back unharmed. (Raffel 74) The burden that is being talked about is Beowulf killing Grendel’s mother. During the fight Beowulf was at his lowest, his sword did not damage her whatsoever and she had him on the ground where she wanted him.
At that point all hope seems lost until he sees the sword made by giants which he uses to kill her. He realized that not all of the problems he faces can be solved by using his hands or normal swords, so that is why he uses that magic sword. The way the story showed Beowulf being resurrected was figuratively. That was by him coming out of the water.
There is no such thing as doing a good deed and not expecting anything back. My lord Higlac, my meeting with Grendel and the nighttime battle we fought are known to everyone in Denmark. (Raffel 85). This is the conversation Beowulf had with his king after coming back from his adventure in the Danish land. There was many reasons Beowulf went out of his way to help out Hrothgar. First reason was because he did not want to be king and the second reason was because he had to repay a wergild his father owed Hrothgar. The most important reason why he did it was for the fame and glory.
He was able to accomplish that as the quote says that everyone in Denmark knew about the battle he had with Grendel and his mother. Some could say that the reason Beowulf did what he did was to protect people, but he really did it for the fame and glory. He could have of left after the first battle with Grendel, but after he got a little taste of what he came after he decided to stay. Which could be taken in a good or a bad way. The good way is that he protected the people and saved countless lives, but the bad way is that he only did it for his selfish reasons.