Beowulf is an epic poem. Why? Because (1) it is a long narrative work that relates the adventures of a great hero and (2) it reflects the values of the Anglo-Saxon society in which it was written prior to 1000AD. This Old English poem in unrhymed, four-beat alliterative style narrates, through the course of about 3200 verses, the bold killing of two monsters, Grendel and his Mother, and a fire-dragon, as well as numerous other brave deeds in lesser detail, by Beowulf, “the strongest of men alive
Beowulf and Epic Poetry: Does it make the cut? Originally an oral poem composed around the eighth century in the Anglo-Saxon culture, but later written in Old English, the story of the heroic Beowulf has been analyzed and debated by people all over the world. Beowulf, the original work as well as Seamus Heaney’s translation, is considered by most scholars to be one of the greatest epic poems to have ever been recorded. Due to the many characteristics and specific guidelines that help to define an
Anticipation of catastrophe, doom, gloom are present in Beowulf rom beginning to end, even in the better half of the poem, Part I. Perhaps this is part of what makes it an elegy – the repeated injection of sorrow and lamentation into every episode. In his essay, “The Pessimism of Many Germanic Stories,” A. Kent Hieatt says of the poem Beowulf: The ethical life of the poem, then, depends upon the propositions that evil. . . that is part of this life is too much for the preeminent man. . . .
Beowulf: An Epic Poem To qualify as an epic poem, Beowulf reflects the values of the culture in which it was created. The Anglo-Saxon culture and the poem share many of the same values. They shared a heroic ideal that included loyalty, strength, courage, courtesy, and generosity. Like all epic poems Beowulf is a long narrative work that tells the adventures of a great hero and also reflects the values of the society in which it was written. Both Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxons believed in those
Beowulf is the conventional title of an Old English epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature due to the fact that it is the oldest surviving epic poem of Old English and also the earliest vernacular English literature. Tragedy and epic have been much discussed as separate genres, but critics have not hesitated to designate certain characters and events in epics as tragic. For the most part
Beowulf - A Literary Epic There are ten basic elements that help to classify a poem as an epic. Although Beowulf does not contain all of these elements, it has enough of them to still identify it as an epic. There are ten characteristics of an epic: the central character has heroic or superhuman qualities, the action takes place on an immense scale, the action involves the fate of an entire population or the whole human race, gods or semi-divine creatures aid one side or the other, the author
piece. The visual versions, however, do not usually tell the story the same as exact as their written counterparts. In the case of the epic poem, Beowulf, this is also true. There are many similarities between the movie and the poem, and there are also many differences. In the opening seconds of the film you are already able to see differences from the poem. The poem begins with Grendel, who is a demon of pure evil which has spawned from hell, attacking Danes in the mead hall, killing all of them.
A Jungian Reading of Beowulf The epic poem, Beowulf, depicts the battles and victories of the Anglo-Saxon warrior Beowulf, over man-eating monsters. The noble defender, Beowulf, constantly fought monsters and beasts to rid the land of evil. The most significant of these monsters, Grendel, represents Beowulf's shadow, the Jungian archetype explored in the essay collection, Meeting the Shadow. The character Grendel portrays the fallen self, which will assert itself violently if neglected
Is Beowulf History or Myth? Many of the characters and episodes and material artifacts mentioned poetically in Beowulf are likewise presented to us from archaeological sources and from various written sources, especially Scandinavian records, thus adding credibility to the historicity of the poem. But it is obvious that Beowulf, Grendel and the Dragon clearly belong to the classification of “myth.” In his essay “The Digressions in Beowulf” David Wright says: Another effect of what
Sources for Beowulf Many of the characters and episodes and material artifacts mentioned poetically in Beowulf are likewise presented to us from archaeological sources, from literary sources, and from English and Scandinavian records. “I suggested in an earlier paper that the Beowulf poet’s incentive for composing an epic about sixth-century Scyldings may have had something to do with the fact that, by the 890’s at least, Heremod, Scyld, Healfdene, and the rest, were taken to be the common