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The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is replete with examples of fortitude and wisdom; most of them, of course, concern the hero, Beowulf.
The first dramatic example of these two characteristics happens when Beowulf fights Grendel. The wisdom is evident when Beowulf decides to fight Grendel without any weapons, man-to-man, because it is only fitting that, since Grendel uses no weapons, Beowulf should also fight bare-handed. This is a wise choice, as we discover when Grendel attacks the mead-hall. He has cast a spell upon himself which prevents any weapon from being able to harm him.
There was something they could have not known at the time,That not blade on earth, no blacksmith’s artCould ever damage their demon opponent.He had conjured the harm from the cutting edgeOf every weapon.
If Beowulf had not made that choice, he would have discovered--too late--that his weapons were useless.
Beowulf's fortitude is on display when the two of them fight. Beowulf grasps Grendel so fiercely that the only way Grendel can escape is by leaving behind his arm and hand after his arm is wrenched out of its socket.
Then he who had harrowed the hearts of menWith pain and affliction in former timesAnd had given offense also to GodFound that his bodily powers had failed him.Hygelac’s kinsman kept him helplesslyLocked in a handgrip. As long as either livedHe was hateful to the other. The monster’s wholeBody was in pain, a tremendous woundAppeared on his shoulder. Sinews splitAnd the bone-lappings burst. Beowulf was grantedThe glory of winning; Grendel was drivenUnder the fen banks, fatally hurt,To his desolate lair.
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