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A Worthy Foe Essay

  • Submitted by: Mags121
  • on September 19, 2012
  • Category: English
  • Length: 507 words

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Below is an essay on "A Worthy Foe" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

At the height of Beowulf’s fame, there was no man in this world or the otherworld that was brave enough to take him on, “No King of any neighboring clan would dare face me with troops, none had the power to intimidate me” (Beowulf ll.2735). He was perfectly balanced in wisdom and strength, “A protector of his people, pledged to uphold truth and justice and to respect tradition...” (ll. 1700).   When Beowulf had to die, it could not be something as trifle as an illness or another person; it had to be something that equaled his importance, a worthy foe. This is why the dragon in Beowulf is not an evil character, but actually serves as an additional example of the greatness of Beowulf: the only thing that could kill him was a revenge seeking dragon.
Unlike many other characters in Beowulf, the dragon was described in vivid detail as a glittering, nightmarish destroyer (ll.2825-2831). When the two battled, each was fueled by revenge: Beowulf, because his village had been burnt to the ground and the dragon because his treasure had been stolen. Neither reason was evil; both parties were protecting what was important to them. Going into the battle, Beowulf was much older and had lost his strength. The only thing going with him was his wisdom and his glittering sword. However, for the first time his sword failed, “The glittering sword, infallible before that day, failed when he unsheathed it, as it never should have” (ll.2585). This symbolized the loss of Beowulf’s strength, the warrior in him had gone and he was too old to face the battle alone.
Beowulf deals the final blow to the dragon after his noblest of knights, Wiglaf, stabs it in the belly weakening the dragon’s flames. This is another example of the two most important aspects to a great warrior, strength and wisdom. When Beowulf was younger he had both. Being older, he only possessed wisdom, Wiglaf’s strength was necessary in bringing down his foe. As Beowulf dies, there is a moment in which Wiglaf admires...

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