Beowulf Juxtaposition

Amanda Bray
  Juxtapositions in Beowulf
There are other lessons that could possibly be taken from the epic poem of Beowulf, but I believe that the most important one that could be taken from it would be that absolute power corrupts absolute. This meaning that if one becomes powerful; there will come a time when they have to make a decision that will end up affecting their future. All this time the character Beowulf is getting more powerful and soon he will have to choose whether he wants to be like his Foil character Unferth or not.
When Beowulf killed Grendel and the story tellers were telling stories of two different men. One was Hermod who was “granted greater strength than anyone” (Beowulf 1717). He, “ignored all wise men’s warnings, /Ruled only with courage” (Beowulf 907-908). Eventually his pride got the best of him and he was exiled. And then later he died. However, Siegmund was brave and courageous; a great warrior who fought giants, monsters, and a dragon that had treasure. His fame would last beyond his lifetime. Although Hermod and Siegmund were two different types of people, Beowulf’s life reflects both at different times of his life. Hrothgar says to Beowulf, “Your fame is everywhere, my friend, / Reaches to the ends of earth, and you hold it/ in your heart wisely” (Beowulf 1703-1705).   He points out that Beowulf is famous throughout the world, but he is humble and doesn’t give in to his pride. He doesn’t become corrupt. Hrothgar keeps trying to tell Beowulf that he should be selfless and not selfish when it comes to being prideful. You can be prideful without being full of yourself like Hermod. Hrothgar doesn’t want him to be like the foil character Hermod; he wants him to be more like Siegmund.
This is where the Foil characters come in. Hrothgar tries to use sets of foil characters to try to make Beowulf see what he could be, and what he should be like and how his actions will affect this. A Foil character is...