Epic Of Old English, Beowulf, Is The Oldest Surviving Long Poem? Essay

Epic Of Old English, Beowulf, Is The Oldest Surviving Long Poem? Essay

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Deemed to be the oldest surviving long poem in Old English, Beowulf, has remained a timeless classic. This epic poem was written in England in the early centuries of civilization- approximately between the 8th or 10th century (Abrams pg. 36). Although the author has remained a mystery, several propositions have been made as to who may have been the passionate poet of such a work. Nonetheless, the poem exceeds expectations. The action-packed thriller entertains the readers while also offering historical insight. For instance, the poem repeatedly mentions God Almighty and enforces Christian ideals; however, the pagan values fabricated within the storyline are difficult to overlook. The religious transition at the time allowed Beowulf to incorporate and repeatedly mention Christian beliefs; the actions played out in the poem are most certainly un-Christian though. This poem, therefore, has remained a primary example of conflicting beliefs.
The events in the poem take place after the Anglo-Saxons had started their journey to England, but also before the Anglo-Saxons were newly arrived or still in close contact to their ties in Northern Germany. In fact, many of the characters in the story and the settings were real. The beginning of Beowulf states the setting of the poem which is in Heorot, a glorious mead hall. According to The History Behind Beowulf, "archaeologists who have worked there have discovered a number of magninficent halls that were built around the 500s and onward" (Beowulf History). Therefore, any of the mead halls discovered could actually be the real Heorot. Furthermore, Hygelac, Hrothgar, Ongentheow, Haethcn, and Onela- all characters in the poem- were real people in Medieval England. This suggests that th...


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...rder followed him. Everywhere Cain walked, monsters and shadows arose from the ground in which Grendel 's mother is a result of. It is interesting to note that the story of Beowulf effortlessly contorted the Christian story of Cain by adding pagan influences such as monsters. Nonetheless, like previous battles, the fight against Grendel 's mother was a result of vengeance. Grendel 's mother lived miserably in dark, monster infested waters, but caused no harm until the death of her son whom she was obligated to avenge. The pagan principle of vengeance defies Christian ideals; however, shortly after relating the battle against Grendel 's mother, Beowulf states that "the fight would have ended straightaway if God had not guarded me" (Beowulf 1026). It appears as though God watched over the practice of vengeance which is quite contrary to what is acceptable today.

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