When the angry dragon mercilessly burns the Geats’ homes and lands, Beowulf decides to fight and kill the monster personally. When the dragon wounds Beowulf as an epic pdf fatally, Wiglaf slays it.
This depiction indicates the growing importance and stabilization of the modern concept of the dragon within European mythology. English literature to present a dragonslayer. The dragon fight, occurring at the end of the poem, is foreshadowed in earlier scenes. The dragon fight symbolizes Beowulf’s stand against evil and destruction, and, as the hero, he knows that failure will bring destruction to his people after many years of peace. The dragon himself acts a mock “gold-king,” one who sees attacking Beowulf’s kingdom as suitable retribution for the theft of just a single cup. The scene is structured in thirds, ending with the deaths of the dragon and Beowulf.
Fifty years pass with Beowulf leading as a wise king, when a local dragon is angered when a slave enters its lair and takes a cup from its treasure. The creature attacks the neighboring towns in revenge. Beowulf receives a fatal wound from the dragon, but Wiglaf impales the dragon’s belly to reduce the flames, and Beowulf deals the fatal blow. In his death-speech, Beowulf nominates Wiglaf as his heir, and that of the treasure.
Beowulf is a hero who previously killed two monsters. The scene includes extended flashbacks to the Geatish-Swedish wars, a detailed description of the dragon and the dragon-hoard, and ends with intricate funerary imagery. European literature, writing of it, “dragons, real dragons, essential both to the machinery and the ideas of a poem or tale, are actually rare. European dragon and first incidence of a fire-breathing dragon. God, man and beast alike. A study of German and Norse texts reveals three typical narratives for the dragonslayer: a fight for the treasure, a battle to save the slayer’s people, or a fight to free a woman.
The dragon, therefore, is a stark contrast to the other two antagonists. Moreover, the dragon is more overtly destructive. In contrast with the previous battles, the fight with the dragon occurs in Beowulf’s kingdom and ends in defeat, whereas Beowulf fought the other monsters victoriously in a land distant from his home. The people’s fate depend on the outcome of the fight between the hero and the dragon, and, as a hero, Beowulf must knowingly face death. Wiglaf is the single warrior to stay and witness the death of the hero.
Beowulf’s eventual death from the dragon presages “warfare, death, and darkness” for his Geats. The dragon’s hoard symbolizes the vestige of an older society, now lost to wars and famine, left behind by a survivor of that period. Beowulf’s death and elegy to come. Before he faces the dragon, Beowulf thinks of his past: his childhood and wars the Geats endured during that period, foreshadowing the future. At his death, peace in his lands will end, and his people will again suffer a period of war and hardship.
Beowulf becomes an elegy for the entire culture. The dragon’s hoard is representative of a people lost and antique, which is juxtaposed against the Geatish people, whose history is new and fleeting. As king of his people, Beowulf defends them against the dragon, and when his thanes desert him, the poem shows the disintegration of a “heroic society” which “depends upon the honouring of mutual obligations between lord and thane”. Wiglaf remains loyal to his king and stays to confront the dragon. The parallel in the story lies with the similarity to Beowulf’s hero Sigemund and his companion: Wiglaf is a younger companion to Beowulf and, in his courage, shows himself to be Beowulf’s successor. Moreover, the dragon is vanquished through Wiglaf’s actions: although Beowulf dies fighting the dragon, the dragon dies at the hand of the companion.
The dragon battle is structured in thirds: the preparation for the battle, the events prior to the battle, and the battle itself. Beowulf,” for he claims, “a man can but die upon his death-day”. Beowulf and the dragon tends to receive less critical attention than other portions of the poem, commenting that “Grendel and his dam have, as it were, become more beloved of the commentators”. Beowulf’s fight with the dragon receives much critical attention, but that commentators fail to note that “the dragon was no fighter.
Not that it refused to fight when challenged, but that it did not seek out Beowulf or anyone else. It left Beowulf to do the seeking out”. Tales of dragons as well as a belief in dragons survived till recent times, and the popular mind is apt to accept with credulity stories of water-monsters. The stories, moreover, are often attached to real persons and localized precisely in time and place. The habit is so well known that examples are superfluous”. Old English proverbial lore” because he guards treasure. Tolkien noted that the dragon and Grendel are “constantly referred to in language which is meant to recall the powers of darkness which Christian men felt themselves to be encompassed.