In the closing lines of Beowulf, Beowulf and Wiglaf fight the dragon together. Unlike the rest of Beowulf's men, Wiglaf has always remained by his side (ever loyal). Initially, when fighting Grendel, all of Beowulf's men came to his aid (although he did not really need it). When it seemed that Beowulf may have fallen to Grendel's mother, many of the men left (only Beowulf's men stayed--sure that he was alive). During Beowulf's final battle with the dragon, all of Beowulf's's men (except Wiglaf) have fled. Too afraid to fight the dragon, Beowulf's men prove their lack of heroic characteristics.
In the end, Wiglaf is the only one who stands by Beowulf's side. He fights next to his broken and bleeding king until the dragon's life has been taken. Upon his deathbed, Beowulf passes his crown onto Wiglaf (symbolized by the passing of the armor and gold collar from Beowulf to Wiglaf).