The Epic Poem of Beowulf and The Tale of the Great Warrior

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The epic poem of Beowulf and the tale of the great warrior has been one of the most revered texts of old Anglo-Saxon literature, and has maintained a self-sustaining relevance in today’s society as a result of the vast amounts of translations and reworks of the tale into movies, art, and literature. The epic poem dates back to the ninth century and was first translated off of an old frayed manuscript, leaving some portions of the epic to be left up to the reader of the absent text. The epic story was thought to originate from an oral background as traditional folk tale, yet this has been questioned for debate. On thing that is certain is the fact that Beowulf , is full of thematic elements of the decisions of good vs. evil , the intrinsic excitement of masculinity, and the morbid reminder of mortality, all of which have been analyzed among great scholars and writers throughout decades. The conflict of good vs. evil is one of the most exciting ideas that are brought about by the unknown author of this text, during these moments we see a lot of Beowulf as the good, as he takes on numerous adversaries, who are classified as the evil. These evil characters include Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon to name the ones with most relevance and biggest roles. In the time period that these type of stories were told, Beowulf included these were problems of good versus evil were very surreal to many citizens living under a king and army which they depended on. As stated by Herbert G. Wright in his review entitled “ Good and Evil; Light and Darkness; Joy and Sorrow in Beowulf” that “ these contrasting opposites are a part of our everyday life, so it is not surprising to find these two groups appearing in the text of this period” (Wrigh... ... middle of paper ... ...ust be special, be a staple of an important era of culture. Beowulf is a true testament, of art that has stood the test of time, and lots of it. To add to the intriguing piece of literature by itself it’s almost sad to know that the credit for the phenomenal epic poem cannot be given to any one author, especially since the story has had many involvements with western culture from movies to playwrights. Through the thorough examination by both scholars and critics alike, the portrayals of good vs. evil, masculinity, and mortality have caused many areas of further research into the mind of Beowulf in this 6th century Scandinavian culture. Furthermore we learn the true characteristics and actions a man must do to die with honor from those around him. Maybe not so much the brutal massacres and demons and monsters, but the loyalty and the wisdom is a good place to start.

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