Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thoughts on Beowulf

Many themes present themselves in Beowulf, but the one that stands out the most is fate. Just before Beowulf fights Grendel he states, “Fate often saves an undoomed man when his courage is good.” Fate is mentioned and appealed to before Beowulf fights Grendel’s Mother and the dragon, and finally in Wiglaf’s speech at Beowulf’s funeral pyre.
In each of these instances the outcome of a situation will change the outcome of the story. If fate did not side with Beowulf during his fight with Grendel’s Mother by revealing the sword of the giants he would have lost. Not only would Hrothgar’s hall have been destroyed, but also the dragon would have ravaged Beowulf’s country.
Fate is the Dane’s term for an unexplainable force that drives all events. The author reveals and we know that fate is the providential hand of God guiding all things for his own glory.

1 Abrams, M.H.,ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 6th ed. New York: Norton, 1993.

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