Beowulf Character Analysis

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Sarah Lockett English 401 Dr. Dzon Beowulf Beowulf was written around 700 A.D. by an Anglo-Saxon poet whose identity is unknown. It is part Christian and part Anglo-Saxon pagan because many Anglo-Saxons converted to Christianity in the late 500s A.D. The epic poem is separated into three parts, with each part centering around a monster that Beowulf has to fight. First Grendel, second Grendel's mother, and third the dragon. The Anglo Saxons had a rule of three, and that is represented in Beowulf. Anglo-Saxon men have a heroic code and believe that only through great deeds of honor and bravery and strength will they be able to live forever because they will still be talked about even after death. They believe in fate, wyrd. They are patriarchal and patrilineal, and they place importance on who their father was. Beowulf, for example, goes to the Danes to help out Hrothgar because his father owed Hrothgar a debt. Men in their culture are the sons of their fathers. Male characters dominate Beowulf. On the other hand, there are only six female characters of importance in the epic poem, and they can be grouped as three sets of two, another rule of three. The first group, Wealhtheow and Hygd, are queens and hostesses, and they distribute mead cups in to their respective kings and warriors. They do not have any real political power, but they can attempt to further their interests through words, and their wishes may or may not be granted. The second group, Hildeburh and Freawaru, are peaceweavers, meaning that their job is to make peace by being a link between two peoples through marriage. Being married off furthers the interests of their people. The third group, Grendel's Mother and Thryth, are monstrous women, and they contrast ... ... middle of paper ... ...owulf returns to Geatland where his uncle, Hygelac, is king. Once his uncle and his uncle's son die, Beowulf becomes the king. After Beowulf has ruled for fifty years, a thief disturbs a dragon in its mound. Incensed, the dragon starts raining fire on the Geats. Wanting to protect his people, Beowulf and Wiglaf fight the dragon. All of the other warriors run away. Beowulf kills the dragon, his third monster, but not before the dragon bites Beowulf's neck and kills him with his venom. Beowulf transforms from a good fighter to a wise leader. The young Beowulf only wishes to make a name for himself. The old Beowulf parallels Hrothgar in that both wish to protect their people. However, the end questions Beowulf's actions as being a good warrior or a good king. He does protect his people from the dragon, but his death leaves them vulnerable to attacks from their enemies.
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