, Research Paper
Beowulf’s Fate or Free Will Lori Mixon
In the epic Beowulf translated by Burton Raffel fate plays a major role in the characters lives. Characters allow fate to influence them and how they go about doing things. But is it really fate or peoples tendencies to do what they chose too. ” Fate saves the living when they drive death away by themselves.”(Pg. 9)
Is fate what brought Beowulf to prevail over Grendal? ” The monster would have murdered again and again had not God, and the hero’s courage, turned fate aside.”(Pg56) Beowulf was not supposed to win but out of his own free will he prevailed and saves the Geats and many helpless people. Although when Beowulf went against Grendal he relied on God for all the help and he killed the monster as God had meant for him to do. Beowulf does not allow fate to influence him. If fate is not on his side he makes it on his side. Beowulf is an example of using both fate and free will to live out his life. He looks toward and thanks fate for everything but yet if he doesn’t agree with fate he looks toward his free will. If he wants something bad enough he will prevail and get what he wants. ” Fate sent him to the Dragon and sent him to death” (pg. 98)
Everything that Beowulf gains is according to him by fate. ” The gifts that higlac gave me, and the land, I earned with my sword, as fate allowed” (pg100) He is ready to trust his life in fate. When he faces Grendals mother he says, ” I’d use no sword, no weapon, if this beast could be killed without it, crushed to death like Grendal, gripped in my hands and torn limb from limb. But his breath will be burning hot; poison will pour from his tongue. I feel no shame, with shield and sword and armor, against this monster: when he comes to me I mean to stand, not run from his shooting flames, stand till fate decides which of us wins.” (Pg101)
Beowulf is not afraid to die for his cause and is though to be a hero because of his courage. He saved the city because he used his free will to kill the monster when he was the one who was supposed to die. Beowulf died because of fate but it was his free will that saved the city and the people. So Beowulf used both to prevail as a warrior and a king who was loved and feared by his people.