Sample Scholarship Essays


Beowulf Beowulf begins with a history of the Danish kings, starting with Shild and leading up to the reign of king Hrothgar, Shilds great-grandson. Hrothgar is well loved by his people and is successful in war. He builds a lavish hall ,called Herot, to house his vast army, and when the hall is finished the Danish soldiers gather under its roof to celebrate. Grendel, a monster in human shape who lives at the bottom of a nearby swamp, is provoked by the singing and horsing around of Hrothgars followers. He appears at the hall late one night and kills thirty of the warriors in their sleep.

For the next twelve years the fear of Grendels potential fury casts a shadow over the lives of the Danes. Hrothgar and his advisers can think of nothing to appease the monsters anger. Beowulf ,the prince of the Geats, hears about Hrothgars troubles, he gets fourteen of his bravest Geats, and sets sail from his home in Sweden. The Geats are greeted by the members of Hrothgars court, and Beowulf boasts to the king of his previous successes as a warrior, particularly his successes in fighting sea monsters. Hrothgar welcomes the arrival of the Geats, hoping that Beowulf will live up to his reputation.

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During the banquet that follows Beowulfs arrival, Unferth, a Danish soldier, voices doubt about Beowulfs past accomplishments, and Beowulf, in turn, accuses Unferth of killing his brothers. Before retiring for the night, Hrothgar promises Beowulf great treasures if he meets with success against the monster. Grendel appears on the night of the Geats arrival at Herot. Beowulf, true to his word, wrestles the monster barehanded. He tears off the monsters arm at the shoulder, but Grendel escapes, only to die soon afterward at the bottom of his snake-infested swamp.

The Danish warriors, who had fled the hall in fear, return singing songs in praise of Beowulfs triumph. Hrothgar keeps his word and rewards Beowulf with the treasures he had promised. After another banquet all of the soldiers go to sleep. Not knowing the warriors, Grendel had a mother and she was plotting to take revenge for her son. She arrives at the hall when everybody is sleeping and carries off Esher, Hrothgars chief advisor.

Beowulf, rising to the occasion, offers to dive to the bottom of the lake, find the monsters home, and destroy her. he and his men follow the monsters tracks to the cliff overlooking the lake where Grendels mother lives. They see Eshers bloody head floating on the surface of the lake. While preparing for battle, Beowulf ask Hrothgar to protect his warriors , and to send his treasures to his uncle, king Higlac, if he doesnt return alive. During the ensuing battle Grendels mother carries Beowulf to her underwater home.

After a terrible fight Beowulf kills the monster with a magical sword that he finds on the wall of her home. He also finds Grendels dead body, cuts off the head, and returns to land, where the Geat and Danish warriors are waiting for him. Beowulf has now cleaned Denmark of the race of evil monsters. The warriors return to Hrothgars court, where the Danish king delivers a sermon to Beowulf on the dangers of pride and on the fleeting nature of fame and power. The Danes and Geats prepare a feast in celebration of the death of the monsters.

In the morning the Geats hurry to their boat, anxious to begin the trip home. Beowulf says farewell to Hrothgar and tells the old king that if the Danes ever need help he will gladly come to their assistance. Hrothgar presents Beowulf with more treasures and they embrace, emotionally, like father and son. The Geats sail home. After recounting the story of his battles with Grendel and Grendels mother, Beowulf tell king Higlac about the feud between Denmark and their enemies, The Hathoboards.

He describes the proposed peace settlement, in which Hrothgar will give his daughter Freaw to Ingeld, king of the Hathoboards, but he predicts that the peace settlement wont last long. Higlac rewards Beowulf for his bravery with territory, swords, and houses. The meeting between Higlac and Beowulf marks the end of the first part of the poem. In the next part is dead, and Beowulf has been king of the Geats for fifty years. A thief steals a jeweled cup from a sleeping dragon who avenges his loss by flying through the night burning down houses, including Beowulfs own hall and throne. Beowulf goes to the cave where the dragon lives, vowing to destroy it single-handed.

Hes an old man now, however, and his strength is not as great as it was when he fought against Grendel. During the battle Beowulf breaks his sword against the dragons side; the dragon, enraged, engulfs Beowulf in flames and wounds him in the neck. All of Beowulfs followers flee except Wiglaf, who rushes through the flames to assist the aging warrior. Wiglaf stabs the dragon with his sword, and Beowulf, in a final act of courage, cut the dragon in half with his knife. Yet the damage is done. Beowulf realizes that hes dying, that he has fought his last battle. He asks Wiglaf to bring him the dragons storehouse of treasures; seeing the jewels and gold will make him feel that the effort has been worthwhile.

He instructs Wiglaf to build a tomb to be known as Beowulfs Tower on the edge of the sea. After Beowulf dies, Wiglaf admonishes the troops who deserted their leader when he was fighting against the dragon. He tells them that they have been untrue to the standards of bravery, courage, and loyalty that Beowulf has taught. Wiglaf sends a messenger to a nearby encampment of Geat soldiers with instructions to report the outcome of the battle. The messenger predicts that the enemies of the Geats will feel free to attack that know that their king is dead. Wiglaf supervises the building of the funeral pyre.

In keeping with Beowulfs instructions, the dragons treasures is buried alongside Beowulfs ashes in the tomb. The poem ends as it began with the funeral of a great warrior. The major theme of this poem was the battle between good and evil. Bibliography I forgot.

Beowulf 2

By definition, a hero is a man of exceptional quality. Exceptional quality does not begin to describe the hero that is Beowulf. Of the tale of the same name, Beowulf could be described better as a saint or a savior. His self-imposed purpose in life is to help others, and eventually sacrifice his own life in doing so. In the short time period in which we have joined Beowulf, more heroic acts are presented than any normal man can have accomplished in his entire being. Beowulf’s motive for crossing the sea to visitHrothgar was to repay a favor that was owed by his father, Scyld Scefing. Known to Beowulf wasthe chaos that which had been implemented by the demon, Grendel, on the kingdom. His plans were to rid the people of this nuisance. But this feat would not be as simple as first thought. Beowulf was able to overcome Grendel with minimal effort, but this was only the beginning of his quest. Next, the demon’s mother had to be rid, and the battle was not as simple. Finally, Beowulf was to face the Dragon, who not only was the hardest battle, but also would be the end of Beowulf. The combined efforts brought peace to the kingdom once again. Destroying the presence of evil in the kingdom of Hrothgar is an exceptional feet, but what makes Beowulf stand out is his purpose. He fought, neither for the glory nor riches, but for his father and the sake of the people. Beowulf sought no compensation for his services; the mere satisfaction of helping others was well enough. This quality alone is exceptional enough to make Beowulf a hero among heroes.


Beowulf The story of Beowulf is one of courage, nobility, and heroism. Beowulf possesses each of these attributes both as a young prince and an elder king. These qualities allow him to become the honored king that he was, yet they also lead to his death. His actions are to be viewed as a precedent for young princes and future kings. Clearly every young prince inspires to earn enough respect to become king in their latter years. Beowulf first earns this respect when he sails to Herot to kill Grendel, the monster that has been keeping the soldiers out of their home. Upon arrival in Herot, Beowulf brags of his past accomplishments, in order to earn some respect from Hrothgar and his men.

In my youth I have set about many brave deedsI had bound five, destroyed a family of giants, and at night in the waves slain water-monsters, suffered great pain, avenged an affliction of the Weater-Geats on those who had asked for trouble- ground enemies to bits. And now alone I shall settle affairs with Grendel, the monster, the demon. (Page 32) While this beast has killed many of Hrothgars men, Beowulf vows to destroy him with his bare hands. Even after doing as he so promised, Beowulf has still not finished his duties. The following day, he is faced with another challenge; killing Grendels angry mother. When Beowulf is asked to perform this task, he accepts whole heatedly , as he sees it as another chance to gain fame, “Let him who may get glory before death: that is best for the warrior after he has gone from life.”(page 45) Once again, Beowulf returns successful in his battle with the monster, only to increase his popularity within his people.

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These courageous and heroic deeds are expected of any young or aging prince. Clearly Beowulfs brave encounters with these monsters show his king and followers that he is worthy of becoming a fearless leader. However, his ability to rule goes beyond those feats in battle. Beowulf was showered with gifts of gold and riches for his tremendous achievements of killing the monsters. This is where his manner is shown to be one of strong moral. While he could have easily kept them all for himself, Beowulf gives his rewards to his king, Higlac; as he was instructed to do.

In addition, Beowulf declined his first offering at the throne. His sense of morality and loyalty to Higlac tells him that it is only right for Higlacs son to take the throne before himself. These decent acts should be wisely followed by a young prince. When Beowulf accepts the role of King of the Geats, he does not change as a person or as a warrior. Once again, a monster is brought to the attention of Beowulf, this time in his own land. Even in his old age, Beowulf vows to fight this dragon on his own.

Yet this battle was not to be fought for his own fame, yet for the safety of his people. Beowulf attacks the dragon as he had done so many times in the past, in hope of a victory. However, he quickly learns that his strength and armor are no match for the fire breathing dragon. As the fight comes to a close, Beowulf lies dying on the ground, with all but one man left to his aid. Although the dragon was defeated, the Geats lost their honorable king. He died doing what any good leader would, defending his land and people. Beowulfs mistake was to let his ego take over, as he tried to take on the dragon alone. This is especially notable for a young prince to follow. While it is necessary to be brave and courageous, a prince of king must know his own limitations in order to succeed.


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