Historical and Social Symbology in Beowulf
:: 3 Works Cited
1490 words (4.3 double-spaced pages)
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On the surface, the poem Beowulf seems to be a simple tale of a brave hero who triumphs over three monsters and who engages in several other battles in order to preserve what is just and right. A more thorough reading, however, reveals that the epic poem is filled with events that symbolize historical and social conditions that prevailed during the European reign of the Scandinavians in the seventh century to around the ninth century, following the Danish invasion of England (Sisson 1996).
Analysts additionally point out that Beowulf’s author was a person who has a “strong sense of cultural diversity” (Frank 1982: 52). Though the author was most likely Christian, he or she also had a strong understanding of the pagan moral code. This was illustrated in the way Beowulf was able to move through different European societies with ease.
This essay looks at the heroic code that is exemplified by Beowulf, as seen in his battles with Grendel, his fight with Grendel’s mother, in his relationship with Hygelac. In the second part, the essay then examines how Beowulf moves away from t...
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...wulf lived with bravery, compassion and most importantly, with honor.
Donaldson, E. Talbot. 1966. “Kinship in Beowulf.” in Beowulf: Bloom’s Notes. Harold Bloom, ed. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers.
Frank, Roberta. 1982. “The Beowulf Poet’s Sense of History.” in Beowulf: Critical Interpretation. Harold Bloom, ed. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers.
Sisson, Mary. 1996. “Thematic and Structural Analysis.” in Beowulf: Bloom’s Notes. Harold Bloom, ed. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers.
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