Coming Of Age In Beowulf

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Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney shows that Beowulf himself goes through a coming of age, both literally and figuratively during his encounters with Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon. In Beowulf’s conflict with Grendel, the hideous beast, he vanquishes him easily. “Then Hygelac’s trusty retainer recalled his bedtime speech, sprang to his feet and got a firm hold. Fingers were bursting, the monster back-tracking, the man overpowering”(Heaney 51). In the literal sense of the term “coming of age” this is the battle of the 3 where Beowulf is the youngest and therefore the least experienced. In the figurative sense of this, Beowulf in this fight only relies on his brute force in order to torture him, which shows his inexperience. His next encounter, Grendel’s grotesque mother will not be nearly as easy nor as straight-forward, thus forcing him to age and become wiser in the way that he tackles his obstacles.…show more content…
“...gripped her shoulder and laid about him in a battle frenzy: he pitched his killer opponent to the floor but she rose quickly and retaliated”(Heaney 107). “... hard-pressed and enraged, took a firm hold of the hilt and swung the blade in an arc, a resolute blow that bit deep into her neck-bone and severed it entirely, toppling the doomed house of her flesh”(Heaney 107). These quotes show that Beowulf is maturing as he is forced to rely less on his strength and rely more on his wit and smarts in order to kill Grendel’s mother. In the literal sense of the word, he is much older and is a lot more

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