The Epic Of Beowulf By William Tolkien Essay

The Epic Of Beowulf By William Tolkien Essay

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Over time, many experts criticize the poem Beowulf. According to J. R. R. Tolkien, most critics talk about how Beowulf’s plot has unnecessary characters and how certain pieces of the plot are not in the right places. Tolkien, who is a fan of Beowulf, writes a speech of why Beowulf is a great piece of literature. He states that the poet writes the poem so well that most people see it historically incorrect (The Monsters and the Critics). Tolkien does agree that Beowulf is not historically accurate, but that is not the point. The point is that certain characters were put in certain places in the story to make Beowulf wonderful. Therefore, critics should not judge this as individually, but as a poem. Tolkien says that this poem has a purpose, even today; if this story was not created back then, someone else would have created it today (The Monster and the Critics). Overall, Tolkien makes many good points of Beowulf and these points lead to one thought: Beowulf is not as a hero as most people think he is.
In the poem Beowulf, Beowulf does shares a similar characteristic with a hero. He is kind to others. After Beowulf fights the dragon, he speaks to Wiglaf his final words and wishes. Beowulf requests, “Now that I have bartered my last breath to own this fortune, it is up to you to look after their needs” (807-809). Even during Beowulf’s last moments, he still cares for his people and makes sure to take care of them. This action shows true strength and shows that Beowulf is a hero. On the other hand, Beowulf is not like a hero. In this story, Beowulf goes to Hrothgar to kill the Grendel. The reader may think this is a heroic act, but it is not. A typical hero goes and slays the monster to help the people, but Beowulf does this for fam...


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...ulf’s careless decisions in battles lead to his death. Again, this evidence confirms the idea that this poem is not of a hero but a man, and that is tragic enough.
Overall, the poem is not about heroism but the tragedy of men. Beowulf is like a hero by annihilating monsters, but he also demonstrates other characteristics that are not heroic. He does kindness only for fame and not just to help others. With his resume of killing many monsters, Beowulf becomes prideful and declares he can kill Grendel with his bare hands. This pride does lead to his downfall. Beowulf starts to make unwise actions and starts to almost rely on luck. Because of his foolishness, Beowulf dies. Tolkien is right that Beowulf has purpose for today. These details show that Beowulf is not like a hero, but as a prideful, mortal man. Since Beowulf is a mortal man, he is not a hero but a tragedy.

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