What role do death and defeat play in the story?What point is being made by the fact that even Beowulf, this great hero, has to die,

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The narrator likes reminding the reader that eventually, everybody dies. Most of us know this so I think that I spot a theme here! Vikings liked to kill people and each other so death was always a distinct possibility. Heroism, especially in battle, becomes very important seeing that every battle might be one's last. Yes, even the mighty Beowulf has to die which makes the whole honor in battle and life idea even more poignant.