Beowulf's rhetoric What is Beowulf's Rhetoric?

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A good example are Beowulf's last words to his cousin Wiglaf:

"You are the last of our family, Wiglaf. All the others fell when Fate decided they must. Now I must follow them."

Fate, of course, is not a specific entity but the events occurring after Beowulf and his ancestors made their decisions. Beowulf does not regret any part of his life, but wants it to be known that he fought and sacrificed for his people. Beowulf is ready to "fall" as is his "fate," and he entrusts Wiglaf both with the throne and the responsibility to make decisions as he did.

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The rhetoric of this important text concerns the nature of heroism and bravery and in particular how this is examined through the character of Beowulf himself. He in many respects is a perfect hero because he considers the duty of a king is to sacrifice himself and his comforts for the benefits of his people, as opposed to building up his wealth and keeping himself safe, as Hrothgar does.

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Beowulf's rhetoric can vary from situation to...

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