Beowulf Criticism

The hero has been looked upon for centuries as a symbol of strength. From the earliest written documents stories have come forth of heroes and their adventures. In the eighth century an unknown poet scribed the story of Beowulf. Within its pages are tales of their hero, Beowulf, and his adventures. Throughout the use of weaponry and armor show the hero through an extension of their power. The Christian impact brings with it the divine power that enables the hero to beat his enemies with weapons and armor of infinite strength. The weapons and armor chosen by a hero, control his ultimate destiny.


The instance where Beowulf uses his hands to fight Grendal and ultimately kill him. Beowulf remembers that all power “lay in gods hands,” therefore he does not pickup his sword, this fight would be undertaken with his brute strength. “Our holy father had sent Beowulf as a sign of his grace, a mark of his favor, to help us defeat Grendal and end that terror,” (381-83). No synthetic weapon can harm Grendal so to kill him you must fight him with your bare hands. This he did gloriously, with the strength of god. Ripping Grendals arm off using his unmatched power as his weapon of destruction. Beowulf used his hands as a weapon to kill Grendal. Because his chose his hands he was able to defeat Grendal since swords and traditional weapons could not penetrate his skin.
Another example of how the superior armory allows victory occurs when Beowulf chooses the divine sword to kill Grendals mother. “Then he sawa heavy sword strong and blessed.best of all weapons.” 1556-60 saw sword on wall and used it to fight her. “The soldiers martial valor is expressed by the sharp visualization of their gear,” Clark. Clark expresses his belief that Beowulf visualized victory when he saw the sword. That the image of victory became a reality when he felt the divine strength in the sword his valor rose to heroic levels. Beowulf later goes on to say; “Id have been dead at once if our Father in Heaven had not helped me,”1656-1658. This proves the divine power felt by Beowulf and shows he felt he could not win without that strength. With sword he could penetrate her skin without the weapon he would have been unable to harm her therefore being killed.

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The best example of armory controlling ones destiny occurs when Grendals mother stabs Beowulf with dagger but, armor stops its point. “She drew a daggerher stabbing blade was blunted by the woven mail shirt he wore on his chest.” Mail shirt stopped dagger grendals mother stabbed Beowulf with. “He would have been done for, had not God and his loyal mail-shirt helped him,”goldsmith. The divine power resurfaces again with the mail shirt possessing the power to stop the daggers point. Goldsmith recognizes the godly force bound to the armor. Without the help of God, Beowulfs destiny would have been compromised. However with the superior armor possessed Beowulfs archetypal destiny remains.


Tools a hero chooses allow him to accomplish the task at hand and also keeps him alive. The army with the best weaponry has historically prevailed in all conflicts. Although every army ever assembled believes themselves to have God “on their side.” Beowulf is different because God gave him the best armory to use. “God has granted him the greatest strength to defeat all his enemies.” Weapons and armor play the lead role in any combat situation. Hence the phrase “Bringing a knife to a gun fight.” The victor is obvious right? Heroes today use weapons and armor to beat all their enemies as the American Armed Forces have shown in certain Middle Eastern conflicts. Whoever possesses the superior armory controls the destiny of all antagonized. A lethal conflict requires the right tool for the job.