Explain to someone who has not read the poem why Beowulf would risk a hazardous ocean voyage to battle an unknown beast foe a distant king. In outlining your paper, plan for at least three paragraphs, one each devoted to Beowulfs ideas about honor, fame, and courage. Scan his speeches in the first part of the peon to find what he has to say about these values and use short quotations form the text to illustrate you explanation. See the Writing Process in the Composition Handbook.
Background: the Story Beowulf is an Epic poem written in the Anglo-Saxon period. The author of the poem is unknown. Beowulf is the hero of the story and the Thane to Hygelac the king of the Geats in Sweden. When Beowulf finds out the Grendel (the big guy) is causing problems in Denmark he decides to go over there and help them out. He fights Grendel and everyone is happy. Then Grendels mother comes to avenge her son so Beowulf has to go fight her also. After winning that battle Beowulf goes back to the Geats and becomes king and rules for fifty winters. Everything is good until he has to go fight this dragon. The dragon ends up killing Beowulf. In the story you can see how things like Honor, fame, and Courage are associated with Beowulf. The reason that he take the dangerous journey is to gain all there of those characteristics in his journey. Out lines below is how he gets each one of those traits in the story.
Honor: Before Beowulfs journey a man named Unfert taunts Beowulf and brings up how when they were little kid they had a competition to see who could swim the farthest and Beowulf kept swimming even though he was being attacked by monsters. In lines 397-400 with plowing shoulders parted the waves, the sea-flood boiled with its winter surges seven nights was the greater, his swimming the stronger! Basically this guy Unfert was trying to make fun of Beowulf, and Beowulf defended his honor by bringing up how he beat him in the swimming competition. Honor is important to Beowulf because he works hard for what he has accomplished and doesnt want some guys just making fun of him.
Fame: This whole story is about how famous Beowulf is. The on thing that sticks out in my mind though would be fighting Grendel with out any weapons or armor. Grendel couldnt be effected by the weapons but armor would of helped Beowulf. Armor would of protected him if Grendel would of stuck him with a blow or something. This is found in lines 501-504 He stripped from his shoulders the bryny of steel, doffed his helmet from head; into hand of thane gave iron, the best of blades; bade him keep well the weapons of war. Basically they just said Beowulf just took off all his armor and weapons that have kept him safe in war. He knows if he wins with out any of his armor he will look even more like a B.A in front of all these people.
Courage: Last but not least is Beowulfs fame. Him fighting Grendel without armor is pretty courageous, but there is more cool acts of courage that he accomplishes. After Grendel dies his mom comes back to kill Beowulf. She ends up running away and Beowulf chases her, her lair is at the bottom of the ocean (kind of like when superman loses his power to marry a chick) well to get to the lair you have to swim through a ton of sea monsters. the swimming forms of strange sea-dragons dim serpent shapes in the water depths, lines 937-938. Thats what Beowulf had to dive into. Lines 960-961 a Gleaming helmet guarded his head as he planned his plunge to the depths of the pool that means he jumped into all these huge sea monsters to go fight someone that wasnt even wrecking his village. He didnt even have to jump in there but he did because he is awesome and he doesnt have to do it. Thats why Beowulf is so courageous
So as you can see Beowulf has many of the traits that make up a hero. Beowulf all these traits to an extreme in the book. This is done probably because the author wants to get the point that Beowulf was an the best of the best when it comes to Heroes. I would suggest reading the story of Beowulf.