Beowulf is an epic hero and showed characteristics. [40] Adrien Bonjour opined in 1953 that the dragon's "ultimate significance in the poem" remains a "mystery". Beowulf receives a substantial number of wounds in the battle. The dragon which was fighting with Beowulf Asked … [3] Secular Germanic literature and the literature of Christian hagiography featured dragons and dragon fights. [21] The people's fate depend on the outcome of the fight between the hero and the dragon, and, as a hero, Beowulf must knowingly face death. to the dragon. The Beowulf dragon is described with Old English terms such as draca (dragon), and wyrm (reptile, or serpent), and as a creature with a venomous bite. Beowulf performed his brave deeds in the story. For an example, in comparison of the first characteristic he battled against Brecca, Grendel and his mother, and The dragon. Also, the Beowulf poet created a dragon with specific traits: a nocturnal, treasure-hoarding, inquisitive, vengeful, fire-breathing creature. After a thief steals from the dragon's horde, the dragon goes on a rampage and terrorizes the Geats. As a result, the dragon The Hero-Beowulf goes on quests to save the Hall and his kingdom, and has the standard characteristics of a hero (courage, strength, and honor). He cuts the dragon in the belly to reduce the flames, and Beowulf deals the fatal blow. with magical abilities and strengths (Holz, Bartusik, Melendez). [10] Job's dragon would have been accessible to the author of Beowulf, as a Christian symbol of evil, the "great monstrous adversary of God, man and beast alike. Beowulf also battled Grendel’s mother and stood up to The dragon. We also see this when Hygelac is killed and Hygd, Hygelac's wife, offers Beowulf the throne over her son: Here again we see the amount of trust that is bestowed on Beowulf as a result of his ability to successfully follow the warrior's code combined with the good nature of his character. Their values uphold the warrior aristocracy, including loyalty and the high value placed on kinship. Old guardian of the people, [38] Raymond Wilson Chambers, in his Beowulf: An Introduction to the Study of the Poem with a Discussion of the Stories of Offa and Finn, says that Beowulf's dragon acts like "the typical dragon of Old English proverbial lore" because he guards treasure. At his death, peace in his lands will end, and his people will again suffer a period of war and hardship. The scene includes extended flashbacks to the Geatish-Swedish wars, a detailed description of the dragon and the dragon-hoard, and ends with intricate funerary imagery. vast amounts of wealth there. A fire-breathing dragon who discovered a lost tribe's treasure and moved into the barrow housing the gold. This depiction indicates the growing importance and stabilization of the modern concept of the dragon within European mythology. [4] Although the dragons of hagiography were less fierce than the dragon in Beowulf, similarities exist in the stories such as presenting the journey to the dragon's lair, cowering spectators, and the sending of messages relaying the outcome of the fight. [22], Beowulf's eventual death from the dragon presages "warfare, death, and darkness" for his Geats. [42], Seamus Heaney suggests that Beowulf's attitude towards fighting the dragon reflects his "chthonic wisdom refined in the crucible of experience", that is there is already a "beyond-the-grave aspect" to his resoluteness. (including. This was one of Beowulf characteristics in the story. homes. [2] Beowulf is the earliest surviving piece of Anglo-Saxon literature to feature a dragon, and it is possible that the poet had access to similar stories from Germanic legend. These were all examples of Beowulf risking death for glory. This was one of Beowulf characteristics in the story. escapes with one of the dragon’s cups. For an example, in comparison of the first characteristic he battled against Brecca , Grendel and his mother, and The dragon. This was one of Beowulf characteristics in the story. Destroyed in this attack is Beowulf’s home [7], Beowulf scholar J. R. R. Tolkien considered the dragon in Beowulf to be one of only two real dragons in northern European literature, writing of it, "dragons, real dragons, essential both to the machinery and the ideas of a poem or tale, are actually rare. When the angry dragon mercilessly burns the Geats' homes and lands, Beowulf decides to fight and kill the monster personally. He did not have to race but he was brave enough to step up race against her. The dragon itself acts as a mock "gold-king"; one who sees attacking Beowulf's kingdom as suitable retribution for the theft of just a single cup. The dragon is exceedingly greedy – marking a stark contrast to good kings, who create loyalty and love among their people and warriors through generosity. In my opinion if your brave enough to battle against a monster you are considered an epic hero. They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”, “This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. Instant downloads of all 1372 LitChart PDFs In Beowulf's two earlier battles, Grendel and Grendel's mother are characterized as descendants of Cain: "[Grendel] had long lived in the land of monsters / since the creator cast them out / as the kindred of Cain"[15] and seem to be humanoid: in the poet's rendition they can be seen as giants, trolls, or monsters. Beowulf is a hero who previously killed two monsters. [39] W. P. Ker criticized the inclusion of Beowulf's fight with the dragon and his subsequent death in the poem, writing "It is as if to the end of the Odyssey there had been added some later books telling in full of the old age of Odysseus, far from the sea, and his death at the hands of Telegonus". Meanwhile, his kinsman Wiglaf scolds the other members of the troop for not going in to help, before coming to Beowulf's aid. The dragon fight is foreshadowed with earlier events: Scyld Shefing's funeral and Sigmund's death by dragon, as recounted by a bard in Hrothgar's hall. [27] The dragon's hoard is representative of a people lost and antique, which is juxtaposed against the Geatish people, whose history is new and fleeting. Also he stood up to three different villains, that shows a strong leader. [46] J. R. R. Tolkien used the dragon story of Beowulf as a template for Smaug of The Hobbit; in each case, the dragon awakens upon the hoard being disturbed by one stealing a chalice and goes into a wrathful rampage until slain by another person. Possibly the poem’s Christian narrator sees greed for treasure as a kind of spiritual death, suffered by pagans who value treasure over Heaven. In Beowulf, the The final blow, which The Beowulf dragon was later copied in literature with similar themes such as J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit (1937), one of the forerunners of modern high fantasy. [9], The Beowulf dragon is the earliest example in literature of the typical European dragon and first incidence of a fire-breathing dragon. [24] Before he faces the dragon, Beowulf thinks of his past: his childhood and wars the Geats endured during that period, foreshadowing the future. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. [23] The dragon's hoard symbolizes the vestige of an older society, now lost to wars and famine, left behind by a survivor of that period. He is a classic epic hero. There and Back Again a Comparison of the Hobbit and Beowulf, Free online plagiarism checker with percentage. Beowulf and the dragon are destroyed by more than their protection of their The dragon is “driven […] to guard heathen gold, / through age-long vigils, though to little avail” (ll.2275-7). Wiglaf kills the dragon halfway through the scene, Beowulf's death occurs "after two-thirds" of the scene,[33] and the dragon attacks Beowulf three times. punishment for him.” (39) When Beowulf becomes aware of the burning of his hall, he decides to take revenge All together it all showed that Beowulf is an strong and responsible leader. [12], The third act of the poem differs from the first two. The dragon, therefore, is a stark contrast to the other two antagonists. The fight with the dragon symbolizes Beowulf's stand against evil and destruction, and, as the hero, he knows that failure will bring destruction to his people after many years of peace. [12], The fire is likely symbolic of the hellfire of the devil, reminiscent of the monster in the Book of Job. They are 'inmates of hell', 'adversaries of God', 'offspring of Cain', 'enemies of mankind'....And so Beowulf, for all that he moves in the world of the primitive Heroic Age of the Germans, nevertheless is almost a Christian knight". Beowulf ultimately kills the dragon, but at the cost of his own life. The dragon is so well suited to bring about Beowulf’s downfall, in fact, that some readers have seen it as a symbolic representation of death itself: the unique, personal end that awaits every person. Furthermore, an epic hero risk death for glory or for the greater of society. "[13], A study of German and Norse texts reveals three typical narratives for the dragonslayer: a fight for the treasure, a battle to save the slayer's people, or a fight to free a woman. and magical abilities. Beowulf is the oldest extant heroic poem in English and the first to present a dragon slayer. Because one of its precious treasures has been stolen, the dragon decides to burn After a thief steals from the dragon's horde, the dragon goes on a rampage and terrorizes the Geats. As king, he has an obligation that is different from the one he had as a warrior. [28] As king of his people, Beowulf defends them against the dragon, and when his thanes desert him, the poem shows the disintegration of a "heroic society" which "depends upon the honouring of mutual obligations between lord and thane".