Beowulf Quotes by Unknown
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The poet seems to feel somewhat conflicted about Unferth as a character. On the one hand, Unferth has committed fratricide killed his brother — the ultimate sin in a world where a man's allegiance to his clan and tribe are everything. Still, Unferth is courageous and clever, which counts for something in spite of his past crimes. Yet the prince of the rings was too proud to line up with a large army against the sky-plague. He had scant regard for the dragon as a threat, no dread at all of its courage or strength, for he had kept going often in the past, through perils and ordeals of every sort, after he had purged Hrothgar's hall, triumphed in Heorot and beaten Grendel. Beowulf is completely unafraid of the dragon — so unafraid that he's being a little bit dumb about how to fight it. Other kings might take an entire army to fight a dragon, but Beowulf is simply going to take it on one-on-one, the way he fought Grendel and Grendel's mother when he was a young man.
The final act of the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf includes Beowulf 's fight with a dragon , the third monster he encounters in the epic. On his return from Heorot , where he killed Grendel and Grendel's mother , Beowulf becomes king of the Geats and rules peacefully for fifty years until a slave awakens and angers a dragon by stealing a jeweled cup from its lair. When the angry dragon mercilessly burns the Geats' homes and lands, Beowulf decides to fight and kill the monster personally. He and his thanes climb to the dragon's lair where, upon seeing the beast, the thanes flee in terror, leaving only Wiglaf to battle at Beowulf's side. When the dragon wounds Beowulf fatally, Wiglaf slays it.
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But I shall be meeting molten venom in the fire he breathes, so I go forth in mail-shirt and a shield. Beowulf is careful to explain why he allows himself the advantage of armor and weapons in his battle with the dragon: it's because the dragon has its own special advantages: poisonous venom and the ability to breathe fire. It's not enough for Beowulf to battle the dragon. He has to emphasize that, in doing so, he really is meeting the creature on a level playing field, demonstrating his own strength and prowess, not just using better weapons. Inspired again by the thought of glory, the war-king threw his whole strength behind a sword-stroke and connected with the skull.
Beowulf bids farewell to his men and sets off wearing a mail-shirt and a helmet to fight the dragon. He shouts a challenge to his opponent, who emerges from the earth. Man and dragon grapple and wrestle amid sheets of fire. Only one, Wiglaf, feels enough loyalty to come to the aid of his king. Wiglaf chides the other warriors, reminding them of their oaths of loyal service to Beowulf. Now the time has come when their loyalty will be tested, Wiglaf declares, and he goes by himself to assist his lord. Beowulf strikes the dragon in the head with his great sword Naegling, but the sword snaps and breaks.