Is Beowulf deserving of praise, or does he seek praise instead? Please use specific examples from the text.

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When Beowulf arrives at Heorot, he seems to be seeking personal praise and glory when he says to Hrothgar,

this one favor you should not refuse me

That I, alone and with the help of my men,

May purge all evil from this hall.

By asking that he be allowed...

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When Beowulf arrives at Heorot, he seems to be seeking personal praise and glory when he says to Hrothgar,

this one favor you should not refuse me

That I, alone and with the help of my men,

May purge all evil from this hall.

By asking that he be allowed to exclude the help of Hrothgar's men, a group one might think could be useful, it could be argued that Beowulf wants praise to shine on him and his men alone more than he wants to defeat Grendel. In fact, Unferth accuses Beowulf of foolishness, saying he can't beat Grendel, an insult that Beowulf proves wrong.

Although Beowulf has a strong ego, boasts about himself (an accepted way of behaving in this time period) and seems to seek praise, it may be argued that he in fact is fully deserving of praise. For example, he uses his intelligence, his faith, and his strength to defeat Grendel, an act of great courage, as Grendel is a powerful, angry, ruthless, and cannibalistic creature.

Beowulf faces Grendel without armor or weapons, knowing they are useless, and shrewdly kills Grendel by ripping out his arm. This saves Heorot, the epitome of all that is good in human civilization. Beowulf also kills Grendel's mother. Both of these are useful deeds worth rewarding, and Hrothgar rewards Beowulf generously and gratefully. A wise lord of the mead hall like Hrothgar would not reward a person who did not deserve it.

Beowulf could gain praise in many ways, probably with less risk than facing Grendel and his mother, but he chooses to use his skills and strength in a way that can bring the maximum benefit: this is praiseworthy.

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