Beowulf Fighting with Dragon
I was furious. I lay by the cave and was waiting. My armor is blazing in the hot rays of the old sun. Who dares to disturb me?
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It is him, the great warrior. Beowulf is his name, the victory carved in his destiny. And another little human, Wiglaf, has joined him. Do the great warriors want to match themselves with Me once again?
I have heard of Beowulf and his great deeds, though. A man of big honor and courage, he has done many a great thing, and people spread words of praise about the daring man. They say that this human who is no bigger than a claw of my little finger has shown that he is a hero to be told legends about.
The bats that dwelled in my cave as the moon rose in the sky told me that this petite thing – this man, as he calls himself – had defeated the great giant Grendel, the plague of Heorot. The terrifying monster was terrorizing the people of the kingdom. Like people said,
He slipped through the door and there in silence
Snatched up thirty men, smashed them
Unknowing in their beds and ran out with their bodies,
The blood dripping behind him, back
To his lair, delighted with night’s slaughter (Beowulf 27)
No one could see the beats without getting petrified, and no one ever escaped from the grip of the villain… except this little human. He defeated the beast, I must admit it, and – and saved the kingdom.
However, that could mean that the worthless little man had a stroke of luck. Gods must have been helping him all the way that he has made.
Still, there is something else that stings my memory… How could he have escaped the grip of Grendel’s mother? The old witch would not have let him stay alive. Indeed, this power is impressive. But still, it is a miracle to me how he managed to escape. Is this little man more than my green eye meets? However strong he could be, Grendel’s mother was not an enemy that he would defeat easily. However… has the little nothing approached me close enough? Not yet. Well, I still have time – a lot of time. We, feel the time floating, not running as you do, miserable humans.
I believe that the warrior did mischief to slay the old monster, but I cannot remember what that secret weapon of his was. The eternal life makes one’s memory weak, and now many events simply slip from my head.
Why, of course, this was the magic sword that helped the foolish man to make the oldest beast, the mother of the most terrible creature, to fall silent forever. Those people are always ready to do mischief – they never fight fair. Perhaps, they lack the wisdom that can be attained only through the centuries of self-contemplation and fruitful meditations. They are deprived of the magnificence of the great, and even their fury, the emotion that shows the real depth of the character. These mere mortals are pathetic.
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There he is, the little man who dreams to become a new hero… People say that he used to be ruling this kingdom. The worthless creature soon will learn the bitter taste of the defeat. Dare approach me, little man, the king with no crown, and I will show you that your reign is over now…
I spread my wings and bared my teeth, waiting for the warrior to come. Tremble in the fear, miserable creature, the great dragon is going to burn you down with the fiery breath!
And as he approached, a terrible battle was started.
The mere mortal as he was, he was strong. The flesh of his was weak, but such strong was the spirit that he made me take a step back. Me, the greatest dragon of all! This rascal needs to be taught a lesson! Well, miserable man, if you prefer to die in terrible agony, I shall do you a favor.
I bared my teeth and let out a ball of fire, but the small man disappeared. I swayed my head in search of him. Miserable fool, do you think that you can trick me?
I roared and coiled around the stranger, looking for his Achilles’ hill, but he suddenly raised his sword, the sword that slew so many monsters.
It was blazing in the sun, like my own scale, glorious and threatening. Like a sting of a scorpion, it rose in the sky and went down on my neck. I bent and coiled again.
There it is! His armor is failing him! Now it is time that I should put an end to your journey, you foolish little man! I can hear even now the epitaph that your people will dedicate to you:
That was the first day
he was not granted
glory in battle. (Beowulf 113)
You worthless nothing, first you dare steal my treasure, and then you dare to claim your rights for the kingdom that you have abandoned! You deserve the worst death…
I clenched my fangs on the neck of the king when suddenly the world cracked and fell apart. Miserable, worthless nothing, it was not you who killed me, but your shining weapon, the sword that blazed like the scales on my strong and old back…
You have killed me, little man, but I am taking you with me.
Personal Critical Analysis
In the creative piece above the author intended to describe the battle that occurred between Beowulf and the dragon, as well as take a retrospective look at the events that occurred in the course of Beowulf’s adventures, from the dragon as the antagonist to the leading character.
The dragon was chosen as the narrator of the story of Beowulf, because that allowed to show the course of events in a specific way, not necessarily following the chronology of events, but showing the most important things that took place. Since the dragon, a legendary creature that lives longer than a man, has a timing of its own, it should have a specific point of view on everything that happened to Beowulf and his kingdom. Besides, it is always of much interest to see the events as the villain sees them understand all the existing positions concerning the events described.
The format that has been chosen can be defined as a first-person narration and is peculiar about its structure. Since the narrator – the dragon in this very case – dies at the end of the battle, the story is left unfinished, in a tradition of post-modernism, which would not have made the same impression if another format had been used.
The choice of the narrator predetermined the events that were included in the story. It gives a summary of everything that happened before the battle and describes the very battle, but does not tell what happens next.
Because the dragon is a mythical creature and has a certain air of splendor, the language used is very high-flown and old-fashionable. That tone allowed the author to make the reader see a man as the smallest speck on the face of the earth and showed that it can be easily wiped off with the help of the powerful forces of nature.
The emotions that are awoken by the creative piece in question are rather controversial. On the other hand, the author makes it clear that Beowulf, as the hero, is due to defeat the dragon and save the people; yet, on the other, it becomes clear that Beowulf is also to blame – for stealing the dragon’s treasure, at least. The dragon is posed as a fierce but wise creature that has seen the depth of centuries.
It seems that the most impressive piece of the story is the one that describes the death of the dragon. The dying beast takes the hero who had won with him, and they share the triumph. A sarcastic turn of the plot, it looked effective when told by the enemy itself.
What the author was trying to convey about the dragon was that the good and the evil are mere words, and they cannot exist separately. They clash in a battle to show the depth of their meaning, but as the war ends they are stifled into pure force, which is deprived of any morals.
Such was the old story told in a completely new way.
Beowulf. Trans. Burton Raffel. London: Penguin, 1999. Print.