Essence Of Wiglaf Essay, Research Paper
Essence of Wiglaf
Actions and words are telling of a person s character. Of the men who had boasted they would repay Beowulf s kindness, only one man remained to help Beowulf when he needed help the most. The men who fled lack the conviction of their words, while the man who stayed displays fidelity to his lord and himself. For a man is only as good as his word. The name of the man who remained is Wiglaf, Beowulf s cousin. He proves to be a loyal, courageous, and respectful man, who may be destined for greatness.
Wiglaf first shows his courage and loyalty by remaining with Beowulf when no one else has. His loyalty and courage are further exemplified when Beowulf is put in mortal danger. When Wiglaf faced the dragon His soul did not melt, his sword was strong… and the dragon discovered his courage.
After Beowulf has died, Wiglaf retells his story to the men who had earlier fled. He makes an oath by beginning his speech with the words I say what anyone who speaks the truth must say. Oaths are considered sacred to the Anglo-Saxons. By making this oath, Wiglaf shows he respects Beowulf by telling a valid story. He further shows his respect for Beowulf in the retelling of the tale. Wiglaf says, The help I gave was nothing…My sword was lucky. He has chosen to honor the memory of Beowulf by downplaying his involvement in the battle, an action only a respectable man would take.
Anglo-Saxon authors create heroes out of royal lineage. Because Wiglaf is Beowulf s cousin and now king, Wiglaf s essence is taken to the next level. He is now epic material. Before Beowulf dies, he gives Wiglaf his worldly possessions and utters his final words, Take what I leave Wiglaf, lead my people, help them.
Beowulf s confidence in his cousin to lead his people well foreshadows Wiglaf becoming a great leader.
Wiglaf s character-traits, loyalty, courage, and respectfulness give him the essence of an epic hero. His essence is best summarized in this statement: When Beowulf needed him most, Wiglaf showed his courage, his strength, and skill, and the boldness he was born with.