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Wiglaf Essay Research Paper Wiglaf along with

Wiglaf Essay, Research Paper

Wiglaf, along with Beowulf?s other warriors, watches Beowulf initiation

his battle against the dragon. WHen the fight seems to be turning against

Beowulf, however, all of the warriors except Wiglaf -flee. Wiglaf?s

purpose in the poem, however , is more than simply someone to help

Beowulf. Wiglaf is the model of a good warrior, and as a good warrior,

Wiglaf demonstrates the importance of heroism to society and the necessity

of loyalty to one?s kinsman and lord. He is willing to saccrifice his

life to reciprocate the gifts which he received from his lord, but even

more important, he symbolizes the need for cooperation between warrior and

lord in order to preserve society against overwhelming odds Wiglaf also

demonstrates the responsibility of the good warrior, a contrast to the

cowardly warriors, who represent all that sciet shoud not emulate.

After BEowulf?s Battle with the dragon, Wiglaf reprimands the warrioirs

who fled. Such cowardice, he says, reveals a national weakness and is an

invitation for their enemies to attack. Wiglaf reminds them that the loss

of Beowulf means no more gifts, a loss of land rights and everything that

makes life joyous. Wiglaf emphasizes that death is preferable to a life

without a lord; without a lord, man is adrift in a hostile world.

During Beowulf?s battle with the dragon, the poet tells us that Beowulf

is not “undoomed”, and after the battle during Wiglaf?s attempt to revive

the old Warrioir, the poet reminds us that God not only has the power to

preserve heroes in battle, but also to take life from them. He is saying

at times, God dispenses victories, and at other times heroes lose their

lives. Here, Beowulf loses his life. God allows Beowulf to avenge himself

against the dragon and fight the good fight, but we must always remember a

key idea of the heroic code: a hero mustfight- even thoughhe knows that he

fights against fate.

Although Wiglaf is only a young warrior when he inherits the kingdom,

heknows that the cowardice of the Geats will lead to their downfall. Other

tribes who hear about the warrior?s failure to protect their king will

surely swarm down upon them, hoping to take revenge for past hostilities.

In short, Wiglaf is a doomed man. Hw has inherited a longstanding feud,

and he must lead a people who seem inable or unwillingly to fight. HE

also faces a hostile world, leading a people who fail to recognize the

necessity of a do-or-die loyalty to the code of their clan.

Wiglaf may appear only momentarily in the poem, but, without a doubt, he

is more important kthan being a simply a deus ex machina who aids Beowulf

in his battle with the dragon. Wiglaf explains the seething enmity

between the Swedes and the Geats, a feud which will eventually lead to the

Geat?s downfall. We can only see a bleak future for Wiglaf a warrior

without a lord, a king without a stable kingdom, a man strugglingvaliantly

against a hostile and ever-changing world.