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Describe the qualities in the young Beowulf and later in Wiglaf, that make them stand out as warrior heroes

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  • Essay length: 1166 words
  • Submitted: 03/05/2008
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AS and A Level Seamus Heaney

The first 200 words of this essay...

'What kind of men are you who arrive

rigged out for combat in coats of mail?'

Describe the qualities in the young Beowulf, and later in Wiglaf, that make them stand out as warrior heroes.

Beowulf's sea journey and arrival into Denmark is expressed with potent dramatic splendour and magnitude. The immediate realisation of our being introduced to a character of great consequence is shared by the Shieldings' watchman and highlighted with Heaney's colourful adjectives and powerful imagery. Before Beowulf has even spoken or been addressed, we have heard that 'there was no one else like him alive / In his day he was the mightiest man on earth high-born and powerful.' Travelling on a boat 'loaded' with 'a cargo of weapons' and 'shining war-gear' is indicative of a feat these men are about to undertake. When the watchman witnesses their arrival, he is astonished most by Beowulf's physical appearance: 'Nor have I seen a mightier man at arms on this earth'. Throughout the poem this is a recurring theme as we are delivered countless images of his physical strength including his 'handgrip' 'harder' than that of 'any man on the face of the earth'

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