In many respects, Beowulf is a very traditional epic hero. His stalwart courage and sense of justice are paramount, as evidenced in his willingness to help Hrothgar free Heorot from the nocturnal killings of Grendel. However, Beowulf is not merely a capable warrior—he is also a skilled courtier, and it is his eloquence and way with words that wins admiration from the Hrothgar and the Danes of Heorot. What makes Beowulf’s behavior so admirable is not because he is merely enacting the moral ideals
Beowulf is an Heroic Elegy There is considerable debate as to whether the poem Beowulf is an epic narrative poem or an heroic elegy, a poem celebrating the fantastic achievements of its great hero, and also expressing sorrow or lamentation for the hero’s unfortunate death. This essay intends to show that the poem is an heroic elegy. In “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” Tolkien states: We must dismiss, of course, from mind the notion that Beowulf is a “narrative poem,” that
Is Beowulf an Heroic Elegy or an Epic Narrative? There is considerable debate as to whether the poem Beowulf is an epic narrative poem or an heroic elegy. Which is it. This essay intends to present both sides of the story. Some great literary scholars think that the poem is an heroic elegy, celebrating the fantastic achievements of its great hero, and also expressing sorrow or lamentation for the hero’s unfortunate death. In “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” Tolkien states:
Digressions in Beowulf A prominent stylistic feature in the poem Beowulf is the number and length of digressions. “Much of the controversy surrounding the poet’s digressiveness has arisen from the fact that we have not yet discovered or admitted why he digresses in the first place” (Tripp 63). In this essay we hope to help answer that question. The longest digression, almost 100 verses, is the story of Finn, which is here explored. In “The Finn Episode and Revenge in Beowulf” Martin Camargo
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. . . .