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This Essay Describes The Importance Of Characters In The Novel Beowulf. It Also Describes The Importance Of Foils In The Writing Of A Story

544 words - 3 pages

In books one of the most important things of the book is the main character. However, just as important is the foil; the foil is a contrast on another main character. In Beowulf the foils serve the great purpose of bringing to light even more aspects of the main character. There are many characters who do this to the main character Beowulf.One of the main foils in the story is a warrior named Unferth. Unferth is a warrior for King Hrothgar. Unferth's main purpose is to bring out the more heroic and polite parts of Beowulf. Unferth would constantly challenge Beowulf, "... Unferth, son of Ecglaf's, spoke contrary words. Beowulf's coming, his sea-braving, made him ...view middle of the document...

Hrothgar brought out the strength and reliability in Beowulf. Hrothgar relied on him to kill Grendel, "Never, since my hand could hold a shield have I entrusted or given control of the Danes' hall to anyone but you. Ward and guard it, for it is the greatest of houses" (45). This shows that Hrothgar recognizes that he needs Beowulf's help. In return Beowulf talks about how brave and strong he is. This is because he was given the opportunity to boast about how wonderful he is due to what Hrothgar had just done. These seem to be all the traits that a wondrous main character would need however, there are a few more that one last foil brings out.This foil goes by the name of Wiglaf. Wiglaf is a warrior under the rule of Beowulf. Wiglaf goes with Beowulf on his final crusade, the killing of the dragon. Wiglaf sticks by Beowulf's side when all the other warriors run away, "I well know the things he has done for us deserve better. Should he alone be left exposed to fall in battle? We must bond together, shield and helmet, mail-shirt and sword." (179). This shows that by Wiglaf staying and being loyal to Beowulf that in turn Beowulf is a wise and powerful leader. This is because it seen through Wiglaf's reaction and loyalty to Beowulf that Beowulf is a good leader.Through all of this it is seen that the minor characters, foils, bring out the stupendous attributes of the main character, Beowulf. Whether it is through what they say, what they do, or they reactions to something that the main character had already done, all of these lead to a greater portrayal of Beowulf.

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