Why Does Beowulf Travel To Herot

Why does Beowulf travel to Heorot and what do these motives tell you about his character?

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2 Answers

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Beowulf travels to Heorot because he has heard what Grendel has been doing -- how Grendel has been killing Hrothgar's men.  He goes to Heorot because he wants to test his skill and bravery against the monster and show Grendel how powerful the Geats are.

What this tells us about Beowulf is that he is motivated by a desire for glory.  He is coming not so much to save Hrothgar's people as to show his own prowess.

We can see this from what he says to Hrothgar when they meet.  Beowulf asks him for a favor and the favor is to allow him to go after Grendel.  He will not fight Grendel with weapons because Grendel does not use them.

So, once again, Beowulf is coming looking for glory (so it would be a favor to let him fight the monster), not to save Hrothgar's men (if he were there to save them, he'd kill Grendel whatever way he could).

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Beowulf is a brave man who knows no failure.  He is larger than life in character.  He is of the Geats, a seafaring tribe originally from Sweden.  He is the leader of his men and will later become a king.  He is the son of Edgtheow and is said to have the strength of thirty men.  Beowulf wears war dress ( armor), carries a shield, wears a helmet, and also carries a spear. 

Beowulf has been through many challenging battles and always won.  He had heard about the monster that caused the halls of Hrothgar to lay empty.  He only asks one thing of the king.  He asks that he be allowed the chance to free Herot of Grendel, the monster.

"have come so far the chance
to cleanse Herot."