The Epic Poem - Beowulf Essay

The Epic Poem - Beowulf Essay

Length: 2243 words (6.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

 
        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 in that day, mighty and noble,” “the good Geat.”  Roberta Frank in “The Beowulf Poet’s Sense of History” sees the hero as “the synthesis of religious and heroic idealism” (Frank 59). Professor Tolkien in Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics states: “But in the centre we have an heroic figure of enlarged proportions” (Tolkien 38). “That crafty sailor” led his warriors “on the waves” to Hrothgar’s Danish kingdom where the first two adventures took place (“Herot, the bright ring-hall, is purged.”), earning the hero the greatest respect of the king (“You have by your deeds, achieved fame forever.”) and queen and people. More than “fifty winters” later the third great feat occurred in the Geat homeland where Beowulf was reigning as king. This adventure of armed combat against a fire dragon resulted not only in the dragon’s death but also in that of the Scandinavian hero. Numerous other adventures of the hero are presented in lesser detail: “With my sword I slew nine sea monsters,”  “he had survived many battles,” “he avenged Heardred’s death,” “He deprived King Onela of life,” “I repaid Hygelac … with my bright sword,” “I was the killer of Daghrefin,” etc. The poem rightfully claims that Beowulf “performed the most famous de...


... middle of paper ...


...the ten who deserted their chief, said, “At the ale-bench he often gave you … helmets and armor.”

 

From the above it’s obvious that abundant evidence amply demonstrates that Beowulf truly reflects the first millenial Anglo-Saxon culture in the poem’s lengthy narration of the adventures of a great hero.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Clark, George. Beowulf. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1990.

Cramp, Rosemary. “Beowulf  and Archaeology.” In TheBeowulf Poet, edited byDonald K. fry. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.

Frank, Roberta. “The Beowulf Poet’s Sense of History.” In Beowulf – Modern Critical Interpretations, edited by Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.

Tolkien, J.R.R.. “Beowulf :The Monsters and the Critics.” In TheBeowulf Poet, edited byDonald K. fry. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Analysis Of The Poem ' The Epic ' Of Beowulf ' Essay

- In the epic poem of Beowulf the author uses elements of fiction, such as characterization, setting, irony, and symbolism to show the reader that a person’s identity has a measure of control on how they live their life and perceive the world around them. Beowulf opens to the description of Herot, the Danes’ main mead hall. The author describes the hall as a happy place full of joy and contentment. The scene then changes giving the reader a glimpse of the monster, Grendel, who hides in the depths of the kingdom away from society....   [tags: Beowulf, Epic poetry, Fiction, Heorot]

Powerful Essays
1075 words (3.1 pages)

The Epic Poem ' Beowulf ' Essay

- Given, the current high profile debate with regard to dating the epic poem Beowulf, it is quite surprising that some scholars go as far as placing it during the Vendel era around 550 - 793 CE. Even though it is considered as a kind of folk tale, many are those who believe it happened towards the early Vendel era. As a rebuttal to this point, it might be convincingly argued that this period is also referred to as the Germanic Iron Age. Moreover, this era saw the rise of Norse mythology, which is very fatalistic in nature; it focuses on a world coming to an end in a great cataclysm....   [tags: Beowulf, Epic poetry, Hero, Homer]

Powerful Essays
713 words (2 pages)

The Epic Poem Of Beowulf Essay

- In the epic poem of Beowulf, Beowulf goes into strenuous battles against two monsters and a dragon. Beowulf fights until death in these three strenuous battles. The wicked monsters plot their assault on Beowulf. Will Beowulf be victorious. Will the monsters kill him. Beowulf must be strong to overpower the monsters. His victories reveal him to be strongest warrior of his land. Beowulf starts his first battle against Grendel. Grendel is a powerful demon from Cain. He lives in the bottom of a boiling swamp with his mother....   [tags: Beowulf, Heorot, Hero, Epic poetry]

Powerful Essays
814 words (2.3 pages)

The Epic Poem Of Beowulf Essay

- During the turn of the 5th century, the British Isles were under control of a strong and powerful group of people, called the Anglo-Saxons. These individuals worshipped under a Pagan religion that shaped their society in many ways. During the time period when the story was written, it is believed to have followed strict Paganism beliefs. Throughout the time the story has been told, Christian monks have rewritten it, changing it around to follow a Christian belief system. Even with these changes and rewrites, the core essence of the Anglo-Saxon beliefs remain in the story....   [tags: Beowulf, Epic poetry, Paganism, Religion]

Powerful Essays
1112 words (3.2 pages)

Is Beowulf An Epic Poem? Essay

- Is Beowulf an epic poem. This should not even be a question because it is so obvious that Beowulf is an epic poem. All of the characteristics of an epic poem is in Beowulf. In an epic poem the hero should be from a noble birth and of great and historical importance, also the hero traits reflect qualities important to the society that he is from and performs courageous deeds, even superhuman that reflects the values of the era. All of this is in Beowulf epic poem and there is much more that prove that Beowulf is an epic poem....   [tags: Beowulf, Epic poetry, Greek loanwords, Homer]

Powerful Essays
1348 words (3.9 pages)

The Epic Poem, Beowulf Essay

- The epic poem, Beowulf, provides an in depth look at a situation of a dual ordeal. Within this poem, the protagonist, Beowulf, is presented with a life full of both internal and external struggles. While Beowulf just battle his natural human predisposition and the vices of pride, greed, anger, cowardice, betrayal, and self-concern, he also must battle vicious and merciless supernatural creatures. Each external battle has a complex link to the internal battle waging within Beowulf himself. When analyzing this poem in terms of formalist criticism, it is clear that the story’s symbolism provides a deeper meaning for characterization, the specific diction of the author acts as a means of further...   [tags: Beowulf, Grendel, Epic poetry, Anglo-Saxons]

Powerful Essays
1224 words (3.5 pages)

Essay about An Analysis of the Epic Poem, Beowulf - A Literary Epic

- 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 announces his theme in opening, a character calls on the muses to help him, the poem begins "in media res," the style of poem is often noble and majestic, the characters speak in long set speec...   [tags: Epic Beowulf essays]

Powerful Essays
1240 words (3.5 pages)

Epic of Beowulf Essay - An Epic Poem

- 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 qualities as an individual....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]

Powerful Essays
1672 words (4.8 pages)

The Epic Poem - Beowulf Essay

-           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 in that day, mighty and noble,” “the good Geat.”  Roberta Frank in “The Beowulf Poet’s Sense of History” sees the hero as “the synthesis of religious and heroic idealism” (Frank 59)....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]

Powerful Essays
2243 words (6.4 pages)

The Pessimism of Beowulf in the Epic Poem, Beowulf Essay

-     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. . . .  that after all our efforts doom is there for all of us” (48)....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]

Powerful Essays
2836 words (8.1 pages)