Beowulf a Poem Translated by Seamus Heaney Essay

Beowulf a Poem Translated by Seamus Heaney Essay

Length: 1057 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In the poem, Beowulf, by an unknown poet, as translated by Seamus Heaney, we see many monstrous behaviors. A few of the examples stand out more than the rest: wanton destruction, a woman acting as a man, and the act of killing one’s kin.
Wanton destruction goes against the ideals that governed the Anglo-Saxon culture. The warrior kings had duties to uphold. We see that they revered kings who would bring protection and give freely to the young and old and not cause harm. One good illustration of this is the nature in which King Hrothgar dispensed his wealth, he dispensed it to the needy and he didn’t give away “the common land or the people’s lives” (71-73).
In contrast we see Grendel, a descendent of Cain, depicted as being a demon, raging without a true cause. He killed just for the sake of killing and the mere thought made his mouth water. A vivid picture was painted of this when the poet wrote “his glee was demonic picturing the mayhem” (730-31). It is clear that he has a huge appetite for wanton destruction. The poet describes him as a “God-Cursed brute creating havoc:” mercilessly rushing in and snatching up 30 men while they were sleeping, “flushed up from his raid, blundering back with the butchered corpses” (122-24). No one was safe not the young or the old, they too, were seen to as prey to Grendel (159). This behavior was not acceptable and was brought up by Unferth to Beowulf; he throws it in his face by saying that Grendel “kills without fear of reprisal” (600-01). This monstrous behavior of wanton destruction is not just indentified in monsters but even in the lords themselves.
A clear example of this is seen when Lord Hrothgar addressed Beowulf about what could become of him if he were to change his course of h...

... middle of paper ...

...esies by being a peace weaver and to be thoughtful in her words and actions. Furthermore, when a woman steps out of her place she is frowned upon and is used as an example of what not to emulate. This clarifies to the reader that this is in fact monstrous. It is clear to the reader when there is an act of monstrosity because the action will be done without reason. Such as when a king decides to have his anger blanketed over his family and his subjects, not acted as the protector and ring giver that is expected of him. One might say that the lords may act in vengeance and could say that that alone is monstrous behavior. A reader may consider actions to be monstrous based on the reader’s culture and upbringing; however it is not the place the reader to so judge characters of a different era.

Works Cited

Beowulf. Trans. Seamus Heaney . New Yourk: Norton, 2000.Print

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Beowulf a Poem Translated by Seamus Heaney Essay

- The epic poem Beowulf tells the story of a man by the name of Beowulf that goes through events that prove how heroic he is. Throughout the poem, Beowulf endures three battles. In the first, he battles the monster Grendel. In the second, he battles Grendel's mother. In the end he battles an enraged dragon. With each battle, Beowulf finds increasing difficulty in his opponent, but prevails and saves both the Danes and the Geats from all being killed by monsters. In each battle, Beowulf proves that he is worthy of having the title of a hero....   [tags: grendel, hygd]

Strong Essays
911 words (2.6 pages)

Essay about Beowulf And The Epic Of Beowulf

- TITLE A compelling ending of a literary work does not simply end; it continues evolving in the minds of the readers well past its final pages. In the epic poem Beowulf written by an English monk and translated by Seamus Heaney, the hero Beowulf meets his death as he fights a dragon during the final pages. Previously, Beowulf displays many heroic traits defending King Hrothgar and the Danes against the evil, God-cursed monster, Grendel, and Grendel’s malignant mother. Beowulf returns to his home in Geatland where he rules as king for fifty years....   [tags: Beowulf, Epic poetry, Homer, Greek loanwords]

Strong Essays
1159 words (3.3 pages)

Essay about Fate in Beowulf

- Fate in Beowulf A Twist of Fate for the Great Hero Beowulf Fate seems to be an ongoing theme in the works of Boethius and Beowulf. Whether it is a belief of Christian providence or pagan fatalism, the writers of these works are strongly moved by the concept of fate and how it affects the twists and turns of a person’s life. Fate is most often seen as the course of events in a person’s life that leads them to inevitable death at some time or another. Throughout the poem Beowulf, the characters are haunted by fate and acknowledge its strong presence in everything that they do....   [tags: Beowulf Fate Essays]

Strong Essays
1477 words (4.2 pages)

Essay on A Summary of the Epic of Beowulf

- In the epic poem Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, we follow the heroic and adventurous life of a Geat warrior named Beowulf. The novel essentially begins when Beowulf arrives in Denmark to defend King Hrothgar’s (lord of the Danes) mead hall from a ferocious creature of the night named Grendel. After defeating Grendel and later his mother Beowulf is considered a hero by all. His name is known far and wide, and he pledges allegiance with Hrothgar and returns to his native country. Here his lord dies and he is named king....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]

Free Essays
426 words (1.2 pages)

An Analysis of the Epic Poem, Beowulf - Origin and Evolution of Beowulf

- The Origin and Evolution of Beowulf       The origin of Beowulf remains a mystery, as both the poet and the year of composition has eluded scholars for centuries.  Although "[it] is now widely believed that Beowulf is the work of a single poet who was Christian . . ." (preface, Heaney 29), I see Beowulf as a mosaic of many poets.  In this paper, I will argue that with each new translation of this Old English epic, a new author of Beowulf is born.  The twenty-first century poet Seamus Heaney, who translated the Beowulf on which this paper is based, injects aspects of his world into this ancient poem.  Published in the year 2 000, the inconsistency of this most modern text reveals the messy...   [tags: Epic Beowulf essays]

Strong Essays
1583 words (4.5 pages)

Beowulf Essay

- Beowulf The poem Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, is largely based around the monstrousness of Grendel and his mother. It was a difficult task for Heaney to translate the poem into Modern English while maintaining the beauty of the language and capturing the horror of the monsters. He utilises devices such as structure, literary devices and characterisation to emphasise the fear apparent in the text. Though Heaney’s writing is effective, it is impossible to use the incidents in the poem that relate to events which took place centuries ago to instil fear into the story....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]

Free Essays
923 words (2.6 pages)

The Characters' Personalities in "Grendel" and "Beowulf" Essay

- The book Grendel, written by John Gardner, and the poem Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, both have very distinct opinions on what role each character plays. The translator of Beowulf and the writer of Grendel follow the idea that everyone has a story. A story is the writer’s perspective on a character’s personality, the way people in the story see and treat the character, and the way it ties the ideas together. There are many examples in these two writings of this concept, but the main instances connect with the lives of Grendel, Beowulf, and Unferth....   [tags: Epic Poems, Grendel, Anglo-Saxon]

Strong Essays
1008 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Sensory Details in Beowulf

- Throughout literature there are constant themes that require the reader to recognize certain events as more than what they literally are presented as. Thomas C. Foster explains the symbolism of a meal in his novel How to Read Literature Like a Professor by stating, “Sometimes a meal is just a meal…More often than not, though, it’s not”. His belief is exemplified in the epic poem Beowulf [B], translated by Seamus Heaney, through symbolism the poem expresses a sense of camaraderie and community that comes with sharing a meal....   [tags: Epic Poems, Grendel, Anglo-Saxon]

Strong Essays
1158 words (3.3 pages)

Language in Beowulf Essay

- So many languages, so many cultures. So many people, so many minds. One of the hardest things for humans to interpret is language, especially if the language they are interpreting is one they are not primarily familiar to the language they are interpreting. A result of this is a myriad of interpretations, each with their own individual ‘twist’ depending on the translator. This applies immensely when it comes to the ancient but timeles epic poem Beowulf. Beowulf was written in Old English by an unknown author between the centuries of 800 AD and 1000 AD....   [tags: Epic Poems, Grendel, Anglo-Saxon]

Strong Essays
757 words (2.2 pages)

Cultural Progression through Beowulf Essay

- ... Beowulf and a few companions came to her lair and only Beowulf was brave enough to go in. When he enters, Grendel’s mother attacks him they have an epic duel until Beowulf eventually sinks a blade into her neck, reaching the neck bone. In the version of Beowulf that Zemeckis directs, Beowulf seeks Grendel’s mother with only his most trusted friend. When they arrive at her lair, Beowulf’s companion asks if he wants him to come. Beowulf declines his offer and goes in alone. When Beowulf arrives in the center of the cave, Grendel’s mother confronts him....   [tags: pagans, sea monster, selfish]

Strong Essays
553 words (1.6 pages)