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Self Against Fate

Essay by review  •  November 11, 2010  •  Essay  •  887 Words (4 Pages)  •  801 Views

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In the epic poem, Beowulf, we discover a new way of looking at life. The poem, which was written by an unknown author, depicts life as a journey that is set out for you by God, one that is unchangeable and indefinite. Beowulf as a character is a marvelous person, however, not even he with all his power and might can change his destiny. We as people today base our lives around the same thoughts and ideas. No one knows when our last day will be to step foot on earth. Every second of every minute could be our last. We are sent to Earth by God with a purpose, and only we as individuals can determine that purpose after we have truly, fully lived. In the epic poem, Beowulf, Beowulf himself acts as the epic hero in defeating all evil to uphold the glory and safety of his people as fate would allow him with each struggle.

Throughout the play, we find Beowulf constantly having to defend himself in the fight not only against three horrid monsters, but the fight against fate. Beowulf starts out the poem as a young man, full of pride and honor. As he ages, his wisdom and capabilities excel while his final destiny draws nearer. The slaughter he takes not only brutalizes him physically, but takes a mental toll on his life in terms of time. "Physical and moral evil can be challenged and overcome, but the ultimate evil (perhaps at its extremity, age and death) cannot be avoided. Beowulf slays his antagonist and transcends his own death. By dying as he lived, he is a model for triumph in the last struggle every man must face." (Masterpieces, Line 105)

After the final battle against the dragon, God calls Beowulf to the heavens above. Perhaps it was merely his time to go, or maybe he had fulfilled all the missions God had sent him for. Only God knows the answer to this, as Beowulf believed he was the deciding factor of every aspect of our life. Only he could expand our time here on earth and as Beowulf felt, "He is under God's protection." (Rollin, Page 3, Line 26). We are given this time, unknown, and undefeatable. Beowulf, as strong and mighty as he was, could not even defeat the cycle of life. "Beowulf not only ages but dies. He is intensely aware of fate and almost pre-occupied with death." (Page 3, Line 51)

Towards the end of the poem, after his final fight and mortal injury, Beowulf's life slips away through his acknowledgements,

"With these words I thank the King of Glory, the Eternal Lord, the Ruler, for all the treasure here before me, that in my lifetime I have been able to gain them for the Geats. And now that I have bartered my old life for this treasure hoard, you must serve and inspire our people. I will no longer be with you. Command the battle-warriors, after the funeral fire, to build a fine barrow overlooking the seas: let it tower high on Whaleness as a reminder to my people." (Holland, Line

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