Beowulf the Warrior

by Ian Serraillier

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 161

Beowulf the Warrior is a remarkably faithful retelling of the central narrative events of the epic poem Beowulf, the greatest Old English work that survives from the early medieval period. This epic continues to be held in high regard not only because of its antiquity but because its hero's exploits, in victory and in death, are as stirring for modern readers as they were for medieval listeners. Central to the meaning of the poem is the code of conduct it exalts, often referred to as the "heroic ideal." According to this ideal, the true hero is one whose life reflects the virtues of courage in the face of adversity, of strength and skill in defeating one's enemies, and of loyalty and generosity toward one's companions and kin. The hero's goal is to perform exploits worthy of praise in songs and poems, leading to enduring fame. The valor and heroism of Beowulf can inspire the pursuit of these virtues in younger readers.

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