How is Wiglaf similar to Beowulf?

Wiglaf is very much like the young Beowulf the reader meets in the early sections of the poem. He, too, is strong, loyal and courageous. Dragon

When Beowulf goes to fight the dragon, he brings his best men with him. He instructs them to remain on the barrow; he will fight the dragon alone. However, the fight does not go well, and it is apparent to the warriors that Beowulf needs help. While the other thanes are creeping away to the protection of the woods, Wiglaf speaks to them and says, "I remember that time we drank mead, when we promised our lord in the beer-hall...that we would repay him for the war-arms if a need like this befell him..." (Norton, page 61.) Here he is showing his loyalty and this is exactly what we would expect Beowulf, our hero, to do.

Wiglaf goes on to say, "God knows of me that I should rather that the flame enfold my body with my gold-giver." (Norton, page 61.) Here Wiglaf is saying that he would rather die with his lord than save his live with the other thanes. Again, this is not all that different than Beowulf's line that "It better for a man to avenge his friend than much mourn." (Norton, page 45.) Both of these characters feel that it is better to confront something head on than to weep or complain about it.

These quotations give us a picture of Wiglaf that although he is young, he has the potential to be the same type of superhero that Beowulf became. Essentially, he can be the new generation's hero when Beowulf dies at the end.

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