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Fate In Beowulf

What is the role of Fate in Beowulf?

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In Beowulf, the sense of one's destiny at God's hands is prevalent, but also is the influence of "wyrd."

Fate is referred to as "wyrd." The Anglo-Saxons did not believe that they were controlled or predestined to carry out a pre-orchestrated plan that God had decided upon for them, but that their failure or success was determined by God's will, not their own. 

The reader might infer that "undoomed" refers to one that God has not decided will fail. In Chapter 10:

Weird often saveth

The undoomed hero if doughty his valor! (X.15-16)

In other words: if God will allow it, Fortune may smile upon a hero if he remains steadfast in his bravery.

As Beowulf prepares to meet Grendel, he notes that the monster will not use a sword, only "natural" weapons, and so Beowulf will not use any weapon either. They will battle, and once more, the hero points out that God will decide who will win:

“No battle-skill has he, that blows he should strike me,

To shatter my shield, though sure he is mighty

In strife and...

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