Beowulf vs. Modern Society

Beowulf vs. Modern Society

Length: 1056 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Beowulf vs. Modern Society

Are there any similarities between life in modern America and the world of Beowulf? Is it possible for such a technology oriented world such as ours to have anything in common with a world which had not even heard of electricity? Has this technology really separated us from prior civilizations? Is our thinking today any different from the thinking of ancient cultures? Although it may not seem to be true, there are actually many similarities between our world and that of Beowulf’s. These similarities are readily seen in all forms of media and entertainment, as well as noted sources of culture such as music and movies. If the similarity between the two cultures is accepted, it will not be hard to comprehend Beowulf.

The first and most notable similarity is drinking. King Hrothgar built a giant mead-hall, namely Heorot, to accommodate his celebrations. Throughout Beowulf it can be seen that celebrations of any kind are always accompanied by drinking. Drinking is just present today as it was thousands of years ago. People today always include drinking in their celebrations, whether it be a birthday, anniversary, or marriage. Heorot is nothing more than a tremendous bar. The festivities of the warriors in Beowulf’s time can be seen every night in any local bar or pub.

Another similarity of course is violence. Violence is obviously present in Beowulf’s world. The determinant of status holds its roots in violence. The only way for a warrior to prove himself is through battle, or violence. Specifically this can be seen through the character, Unferth. He was not respected as a warrior due to his inability to win battles. He tried to find faults in Beowulf to raise his own ego. The disrespect given to this man was due to his unsuccessfulness in violent engagements.

Modern violence is present all around us. No matter which way one turns, violence will be there to greet him. Whether it be on the street, in school, or even at home, violence cannot be avoided. The presence of this violence in society leads to stress. This stress is to a large extent the cause of the similarity mentioned earlier, namely drinking. Anyone from the local bully to a armed robber can be representatives of modern violence. Although it is present in everyday life, this violence can be seen easier in any form of media.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Beowulf vs. Modern Society." 123HelpMe.com. 28 Jan 2020
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=42193>.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Epic Of Beowulf By William Shakespeare Essay

- The well-known story of Beowulf, is in the form of an archetypal epic. Although the story took place long ago many of the ideas and events that happen in the epic are still relevant today. The story tells of Beowulf’s adventures as the leader of the Geats and the man who single handedly defeated Grendel, Grendel 's mother, and the dragon to keep the people around him safe. Beowulf represents many things in today’s world. From the epic, one could grasp a representation of society’s requirements of a hero....   [tags: Beowulf, Grendel's mother, American films]

Research Papers
1141 words (3.3 pages)

Comparing The Epic Poem, Beowulf, And Fame Essay

- Whether obsessing over celebrity news, the latest American Idol contestants, or likes on a YouTube video, there is no doubt that modern society gives great weight to fame and reputation. However, the true origin of society’s fascination with fame traces farther back than one might expect. The epic poem Beowulf, apart from being a tale of warriors, monsters, and dragons, is one of the few remaining Old English works that provides insight on the Anglo-Saxon era. The three most important aspects of Anglo-Saxon culture are comitatus, memento mori, and fame, with the role of fame being similar in modern society....   [tags: Beowulf, Grendel, Hroðgar, Heorot]

Research Papers
1383 words (4 pages)

Similarities Between Beowulf And Beowulf Essay

- Heroes in epics typically exemplify the values of a particular culture, and the eponymous protagonist of Beowulf is no different. Because Beowulf represents the ideal Anglo-Saxon warrior and king, readers can infer that his personality traits are those that were held in high esteem by members of Anglo-Saxon society. As depicted in Seamus Haney’s translation of Beowulf, Beowulf’s strength, loyalty, and acceptance of fate are traits that were admired by his society. The time of the Anglo-Saxons was rife with tribal warfare....   [tags: Beowulf, Anglo-Saxons, Germanic paganism]

Research Papers
1434 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on Comparison of Modern Day Heroes and Beowulf

- Comparison of Modern Day Heroes and Beowulf Most of us have heard of modern day heroes such as Spiderman, Superman, and the Hulk. Each is a hero to many children. Heroes are introduced to people early on in life usually as fictional characters, but as children grow older their perceptions of heroes alter. The characteristics of a hero are usually based around the ideas of a society or culture. In the epic Beowulf, the main character is thought of as a hero. Beowulf, a pagan warrior and the main character of the epic, shows certain characteristics such as bravery, loyalty, and generosity, which portray him as a hero....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]

Research Papers
751 words (2.1 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)

A Comparison Between the World of Beowulf and Modern America Essay

- A Comparison Between the World of Beowulf and Modern America Despite numerous cultural and technological advancements, life in modern America continues to bear resemblance to the Anglo-Saxon world. Although it may take time and some loss of pride to admit it, since characteristics of human nature have stayed the same, from work place to personal relationships, the similarities between the two worlds are uncanny. Comitatus, an agreement between a lord and his thanes, may seem a little strange at first....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]

Free Essays
795 words (2.3 pages)

Epic of Beowulf Essay - Depiction of Anglo-Saxon Society in Beowulf

- The Depiction of Anglo-Saxon Society in Beowulf The Old-English or Anglo-Saxon era extends from about 450 to 1066. The Germanic tribes from the Continent who overran England in the fifth century, after the Roman withdrawal, brought with them a language that is the basis of modern English, a specific poetic tradition, and a relatively advanced society. All of these qualities and spirit are exemplified in the eighth-century epic poem Beowulf. To begin with, much of the Old English poetry was probably intended to be chanted, with harp accompaniment, by the Anglo-Saxon scop....   [tags: Epic Beowulf essays]

Research Papers
751 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Epic Poem, Beowulf - Women in Beowulf and Anglo-Saxon Society

- Women in Beowulf and Anglo-Saxon Society     Beowulf, one of the most translated and reproduced epics of all time, is literature that concerns characters. While Beowulf himself is the obvious hero of this Anglo-Saxon epic, many companions and fellow travelers are mentioned throughout the text. Some of these secondary characters are almost as noble and courageous as Beowulf himself, while others are lowly cowards. Be what they may, all are captured in this timeless tale of adventure. Women, however, are rarely mentioned in Beowulf....   [tags: Epic Beowulf Women Essays]

Research Papers
965 words (2.8 pages)

Epic of Beowulf Essay

- Chivalry is Yet, Not Dead In some select stories of old/middle english, we can see that people have been fascinated by ideals of heroism, chivalry, and what we now refer to as romance for a very long time. I will argue in this document, that our fascination with such imaginary laws has never ceased, and in some ways is even more fantastic. Every further mention of romance will refer to all of these ideas, the way it did when the term was introduced into english. If all things are to be considered this short essay would turn into a book....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]

Research Papers
1827 words (5.2 pages)

Heroism In Beowulf Essay

- There are many traits that are possessed by those who seek heroism. Whether it is in real life or in fiction, every hero desires these character traits in the past, present, and future. IN my opinion, the two traits that are most prominent in the poem Beowulf are bravery and goodness. In this poem, Beowulf exhibits the trait of bravery by defeating the monster, Grendel. This monster was a very powerful monster that plagued the town of Herot. “He slipped through the door… Snatched up thirty men, smashed them/ Unknowing in their beds and ran out with their bodies/ The blood dripping behind him, back/ To his liar, delighted with his night’s slaughter....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]

Free Essays
606 words (1.7 pages)

Related Searches

There are virtually no movies today that do not depict some form of violence.

The choice movies of modern America are such titles as Scream, Scream 2, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Urban Legend. It seems that every modern movie is followed by a sequel that provides more blood and gore. Not only are the "villains" of these movies representing violence, but the "heroes" and "heroines" are as well. All these movies begin and end with bloody, gruesome death. Another movie that has not even been released yet, Waterboy, stars Adam Sandler, the comedian. This movie is about a young boy who takes his inner frustration out on others as acts of violent behavior. It is unfortunate to see that even comedy has resorted to violence.

Movies are not the only forms of entertainment that send out these violent messages. Pick up any popular CD or tape and you will hear an endless array of frustration and discontentment in the form of "music". Whether it be rap, rock, or even pop, violence will be present. These songs are filled with vulgar language, and suggestions of violent acts such as rape, murder, and even genocide. It is actually quite sad to see people disturbed to this extent. Violence is even featured in children’s cartoons. Yosemite Sam is always carrying a gun, hunting for Bugs Bunny; the coyote is always experimenting with one violent act or the other in his attempts to capture the ostrich; while Sylvester is continuously plotting a scheme to seize Tweety bird. The news is another source of violence. Although the stories they report are important, it is not necessary for them to focus only on the most gruesome material.

Unfortunately, media today gives the impression that this violence is normal. This message, which all these forms of entertainment are sending out, is what is causing the real violence in society. People do not know how to express their feelings, so they follow in the footsteps of their heroes.

The blood and gore is comparative to the actions of Grendel. Grendel was a monster in Beowulf who would literally eat his enemies; he was a cannibal. There was no mercy in his attack. The same frustrations of modern day are also seen in Grendel. He is frustrated with himself and his status. He wants attention just like everyone else.

Yet another similarity is the idea of comitatus, the relationship between a king and his subordinates. Today, we see this in many relations. Society members feel this sense of loyalty towards their President, or Prime Minister. Army cadets feel this loyalty towards their commanding soldier. To some extent students feel it towards their teachers, and children towards their parents. In the world of Beowulf, it was honorable to die as a soldier. This seen as Beowulf speaks to Hrothgar: "Sorrow not, wise warrior. It is better for a man to avenge his friend than much mourn. Each of us must await his end of the world's life. Let him who may get glory before death: that is best for the warrior after he has gone from life. Arise, guardian of the kingdom, let us go at once to look on the track of Grendel's kin" (Norton, 45). Beowulf is clearly saying that there is glory in death. This idea is also present in modern society. The death of a soldier is looked upon as an act of extreme courage. Just as people who lack this courage in the armed forces are looked down upon, so was Unferth. His lending of Hrunting (his sword) to Beowulf was an act of cowardice.

It might be argued that we have grown far ahead the characters of Beowulf, but with a closer look, this obviously does not hold so much truth. All the habits and values presented in Beowulf are still present in today’s society. No matter how much we evolve, we are still the same people inside.
Return to 123HelpMe.com