Beowulf Essay Example: Lessons We Can Learn

“Better to die with Honor than to live with shame” is a quote said in the book The Sage of Jomsviking. It is a quote that many people use, but not many people fully understand this does not mean just a battle for soldiers, but for friends and kinsmen- but as well as fighting for honor to your name when a challenge appears. In the story Beowulf  it presents this throughout the story of him fighting the paranormal creatures who would normally easily overcome a mortal. As you can tell from that sentence, it is known that Beowulf is not a normal person, he is said to have obscene amounts of strength and able to hold his breath for hours at a time while fighting; Anyone would like to see you try that. However the story isn’t just about a man able to overcome challenges, but it’s about life lessons and stories that we can all learn from when reading it.

Paragraph Two (Body 1/Lesson 1:Be Loyal, to your superiors and inferiors)

The number one life lesson that Beowulf teaches would be that loyalty to your friends and kinsmanship is important. At the end of the story this is represented by Wyke charging to aid Beowulf when he was losing while everyone else was faltering. After the battle, for Wyke’s Kinsmanship Beowulf, in his dying breath, granted him a new title-King. This quote that fits this would be from a book The Sage of Jomsviking where it states “Better to die with Honor than to live with Shame.” Wyke was willing to die while all the others ran because if he too would have ran away then he’d have to live with it for the rest of his life. A quote in Beowulf that supports this sentence would be “That I, alone and with the help of my men./ May purge all evil from this hall. I have heard.” The great ordeal that Beowulf goes through to secure his people from getting hurt again from Grendel is an example of Beowulf being loyal to his men, as his men are loyal to him. 

Paragraph Three (Body 2/Lesson 2: Choose Your Battles)

The second most important lesson learned from  Beowulf would be that you should choose your battles. This is the second most important because it can mean a variety of things: Perhaps broken legs makes you unable to run a race; Perhaps you're not fit to win a swimming race if you don’t know how to swim; or Perhaps you're too old to fight your dragons. Sun Tzu once said in his most famous book The Art Of War “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.” What this means is that as long as you choose the battles you know you can win, you will always be victorious. Another quote i’d like to add is from a person called Winston Churchill who said, “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” This means that there will be plenty of battles that you will fight, however you don’t have to fight them all.

Paragraph Four (Body 3/Lesson 3:Some Men, Just Want to Watch the World Burn)

The Third most important life lesson that we can learn from reading Beowulf would be to beware the Grendals- what this means is that there will be people who are just irritated at people and are willing to hurt them because that’s what they do. Grendal at the beginning of the story had been angered by the joyous party that the warriors have thrown and decided that enough is enough, and so he hurt them. A quote that best fits this lesson would be from a man named Lemony Snicket, who once said, “Oftentimes, when people are miserable, they will want to make others miserable, too. But it never helps.” There will always be grief or misery and evil and those people will always try to spread it. Another quote refers not to other people, but to your own self, fighting your inner Grendel. This is a quote by Aleksanor Solzhenitsyn, who said, “The battleline between Good and Evil runs through the heart of every man.” There will always have an inner fight with our own selves, and those that do fight these battles have to be prepared.

Paragraph Five (Closure)

Despite the cover of the book being a legend of an epic hero fighting these large battles with strength known by the gods, there is more to meet the eye than just that. Throughout the book there have been many different types of lessons that can be learned, however the ones above are the top three that were chosen to be the top three. Just reading the story of Beowulf would open the eyes of the reader at the lessons that there are evil people in the world and some people that you consider to have your back in the battle against your dragons may run while only one may stay- the book can teach you more than just a story.



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