Beowulf

Beowulf

Length: 534 words (1.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Beowulf

This essay will show how the epic Anglo-Saxon/Scandinavian poem Beowulf is part of the heroic culture seen all over Europe at that time.

While the poem has been escribed to about the year 800, recent research has indicated beyond doubt that it was first written down between 1087 and 1090, as entertainment for the court of King Henry II. (Aubrey Beardsley, Beowulf: New Beginnings, 2001, p. 74) Of course, the late eleventh centry was merely when it was actually put to paper, the language of the poem shows that there are many parts that are much older, that probably date to the Celtic Iron Age of southern Norway.

The story of Beowulf simply, is this. Beowulf has fought in many battles and returned as victor from all but his last, which he lost in a swimming match owing to having to fight sea monsters on the way. This is a lot like the story of the Trojan War as told by the Greek poet Homer in which Achilles confesses how he had a swimming race against Coriolanus, and lost it only because he was delayed, he had to prevent a battle between Neptune and Poseidon. (JM Synge, A Mirror Among Cultures: a Comparison of the Greek Hero, 1997, p. 41) So even though he is late is was because he was acting like a hero should.

The story of Beowulf then tells of his battle with the monster Grendel. The description of Grendel as having three eyes is a lot like the epic Greco-Babylonian story of Dedalus, who slew the Gorgon, a creature that like Grendel, sometimes has wings that can fan a small flame into a raging conflagration. A difference is that Beowulf has super-human strength, but Perseus has to rely on his wits. (A Mirror Among Cultures, p. 88) But both of them are completely fearless in their epic battles, and both come out of them victorious, and both have not realised that there is another battle to fight.

Beowulf makes many heroic speeches. He keeps coming back to the idea that it is the good of the nation (the Geats) that he is fighting for and not himself, even though he knows that he will get glory if he wins. This is typical of early European epic writing. And the hero almost always dies in these epics. Beowulf is not an exception to this rule.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Beowulf." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Oct 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=37569>.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Beowulf Essay

- Beowulf, the Hero &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &#9;The epic poem Beowulf, which was told from generation to generation honoring modern Anglo-Saxon beliefs, describes a heroic man who saves a village in their time of need. By definition a hero is a man of exceptional quality. Exceptional quality doesn’t even begin to describe the man that is Beowulf. Beowulf has many heroic characteristics from his super human strength to victoriously slaying monsters and other ferocious beasts. He has excellent leadership skills and commonly boasts of his achievements....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]

Free Essays
788 words (2.3 pages)

Beowulf Essay

- He killed three monsters and then he died. Not a very interesting fate, but it is none the less one that I find myself having to write about regardless of whether or not I want to. Thus it was, the mighty Beowulf of old England that went forth to slay the evils which plagued the lands of his own people as well as those of his neighboring tribes. The second battle was one that was brought about by Beowulf’s willingness to go and help an old friend, and thus he nearly lost his life once more....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]

Research Papers
1147 words (3.3 pages)

Beowulf Essay

- Beowulf is a well-known Anglo-Saxon poem that has been in English classes around the United States for almost as long as there have been schools around. Beowulf is not an actual picture of historic Denmark, Geatland, or Sweden around 500 A.D., yet it is on a general view, a self-consistent picture, a construction bearing clearly the marks of design and thought. Beowulf to us can only truly be enjoyed if one reads it in the old English version. The effects of the poem are not the same, although the sense of the heroic beast is very true....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]

Free Essays
1412 words (4 pages)

Beowulf Essay

- The epic poem, Beowulf, depicts the most heroic man of the Anglo-Saxon times. The hero, Beowulf, was an outstanding warrior with all the extraordinary values required by a hero. He was able to use his super-human physical strength and courage to put his people before himself. He encountered terrifying monsters and the most ferocious of beasts, but he never feared the threat of death. His leadership skills were excellent and he was able to boast about all his achievements. Beowulf was the ultimate epic hero who risked his life countless times for immortal glory and for the good of others....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]

Free Essays
995 words (2.8 pages)

Beowulf Essay

- Beowulf The poem Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, is largely based around the monstrousness of Grendel and his mother. It was a difficult task for Heaney to translate the poem into Modern English while maintaining the beauty of the language and capturing the horror of the monsters. He utilises devices such as structure, literary devices and characterisation to emphasise the fear apparent in the text. Though Heaney’s writing is effective, it is impossible to use the incidents in the poem that relate to events which took place centuries ago to instil fear into the story....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]

Free Essays
923 words (2.6 pages)

Beowulf Essay

- Beowulf This essay will show how the epic Anglo-Saxon/Scandinavian poem Beowulf is part of the heroic culture seen all over Europe at that time. While the poem has been escribed to about the year 800, recent research has indicated beyond doubt that it was first written down between 1087 and 1090, as entertainment for the court of King Henry II. (Aubrey Beardsley, Beowulf: New Beginnings, 2001, p. 74) Of course, the late eleventh centry was merely when it was actually put to paper, the language of the poem shows that there are many parts that are much older, that probably date to the Celtic Iron Age of southern Norway....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]

Free Essays
534 words (1.5 pages)

Beowulf Essay

- Type of Work: Heroic epic poem Setting "Land of the Geats," southern Sweden and Denmark; c. sixth century Principal Characters Beowulf, a Geat hero Hrothgar, King of the Danes Unferth, a Danish warrior Wiglaf, Beowulf's nephew and loyal court noble Story Overview Long ago in Hrothgar's Danish kingdom lived a gruesome monster-giant named Grendel, who nightly roamed the countryside. Rising from his marshy home, he would stalk to the King's high hall, and there devour fifteen of Hrothgar's sleeping warriors....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]

Free Essays
1590 words (4.5 pages)

Beowulf Essay

- Beowulf The translated Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is the one of the most important works of Old English literature, and is well deserved of the distinction. The epic tells the story of a hero; a Scandinavian prince named Beowulf, who rids the Danes of the monster Grendel, a descendant of Cain, and of his exploits fighting Grendel’s mother and a dragon. Throughout the epic, the Anglo-Saxon author uses many elements to build a certain depth to the characters. Three main important character elements in Beowulf are wealth and honor, Biblical, and man (good) versus wild (evil) themes....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]

Free Essays
839 words (2.4 pages)

Beowulf Essay

- The oldest English epic, Beowulf, although composed twelve centuries ago, uses many of the same ideals and values that exist in modern life and modern literature. These attributes are still important, but they do not occupy every aspect of life as in Anglo- Saxon England. Some of the ideals have little use today, such as fate, while other virtues, such as loyalty, are encouraged and highly respected traits. Other values, like fame, have taken on bad connotations in modern day and are not esteemed as they once were....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]

Research Papers
545 words (1.6 pages)

Essay on Beowulf

- Beowulf Since the dawn of time, the forces of evil have always tried to gain an upper hand over the forces of good. The battles between these two forces have transcended time in both different forms and in different places. Every culture since the birth of man has background stories of creation and the battles that are waged between the two forces of light and dark. Leaving in the aftermath, stories and legends that are passed down from generation to generation through the vast cultures and civilizations....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]

Free Essays
1821 words (5.2 pages)

Related Searches

Like so many other heros, he has an idea that he may die fighting but he will get glory all the same.

In the story of Beowulf one thing that is very unusual is that the mother of the monster he killed will come after him. There is onely one other example of this in early European epic writing, in the Inferno translated by Dante, where the mother of the three Fates attacks Triolus and Cressida just when they think they are safe. (Al Swinburne, An Unusual Hero?, 1995, p. 104) Tragically Beowulf dies, but as he hoped he gets the glory anyway because he defeated Grendel’s mother.

So although there are places in the story of Beowulf where he is a little unusual for a hero, most of the time he is completely typical.
Return to 123HelpMe.com