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Wiglaf
Wiglaf, along with Beowulf's other warriors, watches Beowulf initiation his battle against the dragon. WHen the fight seems to be turning against Beowulf, however, all of the warriors except Wiglaf -flee. Wiglaf's purpose in the poem, however , is more than simply someone to help Beowulf. Wiglaf is the model of a good warrior, and as a good warrior, Wiglaf demonstrates the importance of heroism to society and the necessity of loyalty to one's kinsman and lord. He is willing to saccrifice his life to reciprocate the gifts which he received from his lord, but even more important, he symbolizes the need for cooperation between warrior and lord in order to preserve society against overwhelming odds Wiglaf also demonstrates the responsibility of the good warrior, a contrast to the cowardly warriors, who represent all that sciet shoud not emulate. After BEowulf's Battle with the dragon, Wiglaf reprimands the warrioirs who fled. Such cowardice, he says, reveals a national weakness and is an invitation for their enemies to attack. Wiglaf reminds them that the loss of Beowulf means no more gifts, a loss of land rights and everything that makes life joyous. Wiglaf emphasizes that death is preferable to a life without a lord; without a lord, man is adrift in a hostile world. During Beowulf's battle with the dragon, the poet tells us that Beowulf is not "undoomed", and after the battle during Wiglaf's attempt to revive the old Warrioir, the poet reminds us that God not only has the power to preserve heroes in battle, but also to take life from them. He is saying at times, God dispenses victories, and at other times heroes lose their lives. Here, Beowulf loses his life. God allows Beowulf to avenge himself against the dragon and fight the good fight, but we must always remember a key idea of the heroic code: a hero mustfight- even thoughhe knows that he fights against fate. Although Wiglaf is only a young warrior when he inherits the kingdom, heknows that the cowardice of the Geats will lead to their downfall. Other tribes who hear about the warrior's failure to protect their king will surely swarm down upon them, hoping to take revenge for past hostilities. In short, Wiglaf is a doomed man. Hw has inherited a longstanding feud, and he must lead a people who seem inable or unwillingly to fight. HE also faces a hostile world, leading a people who fail to recognize the necessity of a do-or-die loyalty to the code of their clan. Wiglaf may appear only momentarily in the poem, but, without a doubt, he is more important kthan being a simply a deus ex machina who aids Beowulf in his battle with the dragon. Wiglaf explains the seething enmity between the Swedes and the Geats, a feud which will eventually lead to the Geat's downfall. We can only see a bleak future for Wiglaf a warrior without a lord, a king without a stable kingdom, a man strugglingvaliantly against a hostile and ever-changing world.

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