?Justification for the Abandonment and Solitude of Beowulf Beowulf is the classic tale of a mighty and heroic Geat leader who comes to anunpleasant and seemingly early end. Throughout his life, Beowulf had been an excellentleader and had led his army to many victories over many foes, of his land and of many othersas well. At his peak, Beowulf was the mightiest warrior on all the earth: There was no oneelse like him alive.
In his day, he was the mightiest man on earth, high-born and powerful.(297-298). Eventually, Beowulf would come to be ruler over many people. During this timehe would defeat many enemies, two of which being Grendel and his mother. After theirdefeat, Beowulf and his people experienced a time of peace and prosperity which wasHe remained undefeated until the bitter end when he was defeated by the dragon in theunderwater hell-like grave.
Beowulfs death marked the end of not only his reign, but also ofthe safety know by his people, and also the end of his kingdom. The reasons for hisabandonment of his people and his insistence to fight alone are not clear, although manyhave theories as to why the great warrior chose the fate he did. The first topic at hand is whyBeowulf chose to fight by himself, especially in the case of the dragon.Beowulf was a very valiant warrior who fought his greatest battles alone, or at leastsingle-handedly.
First of all, his battle against Grendel was brilliantly maneuvered in that heawakened from a complete slumber to slay the mighty Grendel and mutilate his body. Secondly, Beowulf battled against Grendels mother (who was excessively disturbed about thedeath of her beloved son) and won a triumphant battle. In both battles, Beowulf won by hisown means and was very victorious in each occasion. The question could be raised as to whyhe chose to fight alone as opposed to having many skilled warriors to help him in his plightto defeat the evil in the world.
One possible theory is that it is much more valiant to be thevictor of a battle which you yourself have fought and won. This way, there is only one personwho is capable of receiving credit for the battle which could help in later times as to thecorrectness of the tale. Perhaps Beowulf did not wish for people to wonder as to who thetrue hero was, so he simply resolved the issue by fighting alone.
Also, if a battle is fought andwon by a single person, they are automatically more glorified than if a whole army was tohave won. This may be because it is simply easier to maintain records of one person asopposed to a whole army or group of people. The winner in this case is able to receive allthe glory which is due them and not have to worry about someone horning in on theirmoment of well-earned fame. By being more glorious and not having to share their fame, a leaders position of authority (whatever it may be) is less likely to be challenged than if manypeople were involved in the victory. In this case, the leader receives a little more cushing intheir position, which is generally a very positive thing for any ruler to experience. After all,no one would like to be overthrown because of their weakness and inability to perform underNow the question as to why Beowulf abandoned his people is at hand. He most likelydid not do this on purpose and had no intent to destroy his kingdom which he had worked sohard to create.
A possible theory as to why this happened could be that he simply did notthink about the void he would leave if he was to leave his throne for some reason. One pointthat must be observed here is that Beowulf had to blood relatives which could succeed himon the throne, so he would of had to hand picked one of his subjects to follow after him, andonly hope that his choice of leadership would not be undermined by those who wished to berulers but in reality were not capable of a leadership position which involved so muchresponsibility and integrity. Of course, there is also the possibility that Beowulf was awarethat if he died his kingdom would crumble, so he did the valiant thing and ended thekingdom at the same time its king ended. This way, the kingdom would have a rather subtleend instead of a violent one in which many people fought over the rights to the kingdom. This also prevented corruption of the kingdom and the throne by the rulership of a bad orThere remains only one question now, which is Beowulfs reasoning for fighting thedragon alone.
Surely he was aware of the dangers involved with fighting a ferocious creaturethat late in his life, especially when one considers that Beowulf was not only aging, but alsothat he was fighting on uncommon ground and all the odds were against him. Perhaps he didthis because he wanted to prove to his people that he was still a mighty and heroic leader,even though it put him in a compromising situation. If he did not go to battle, then he wouldbe viewed as a weakening and a fallen king by his people, but then again, if he did fight, butlost he would not be any better off than if he were to not fight at all. The most he couldhope for would either be victory or death if he chose to fight. And, withe being the heroicwarrior he was, and with wanting to protect his people from harm, he decided to fightagainst the dragon in his underwater hell-like lair.
Maybe Beowulf wished to be extravictorious in his waning years by defeat the great dragon alone, or he may have realized thata good way to live on (in spirit) among his people would be to exit the world in a heroicbattle. Regardless of victory of defeat, Beowulf would be honored for being a victorious andheroic warrior and a good leader for his people. In a way, Beowulf ended his reign at a peak,even though he had already experienced many high points along the way. One can theorizeall they would like, but the only person to really know the motives of Beowulf is Beowulf, andsince there is no way of truly finding out, the only thing left to do is to guess the best we canand hope that possible somebody somewhere will create a believable theory which all peoplecan believe and end the wondering. Until then, all are free to wonder and theorize andattempt to make sense of all the wonderment and complexities of the allusive Beowulf.Bibliography: