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With what weapon does Beowulf plan to fight Grendel and why?(lines 261-270)

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lorentlindsey | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 18, 2007 at 11:56 PM via web

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With what weapon does Beowulf plan to fight Grendel and why?

(lines 261-270)

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted October 19, 2007 at 12:04 AM (Answer #1)

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The line numbers vary depending on what translation of Beowulf you are studying, so I can't refer you to specific lines.  Beowulf will use no weapon to fight Grendel because he says he is as brave and fearless as Grendel.  He also indicates that it wouldn't be a fair fight since Grendel uses no weapon besides his strength.

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renelane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted October 19, 2007 at 12:08 AM (Answer #2)

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Beowulf plans to use the strength of his body to do battle with Grendel. It is a matter of honor . Grendel does not use any, so he is going to refrain from it, as well. Beowulf possesses an honor code of heroes, and to use a weapon would indicate a weakness on his part.

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teacherscribe | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted October 19, 2007 at 1:04 AM (Answer #3)

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Another possible reason Beowulf doesn't use a weapon is to add to his legendary reputation.  Remember, for the people of Beowulf's time, they had to written language.  Their only way to achieve immortality was to act so bravely that the bars would recite poems about their heroic deeds long after they are dead.  This too could be one reason Beowulf is willing to fight Grendel without a weapon, knowing if he wins, his reputation as the bravest of warriors will be cemented.


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