A Comparison Between the World of Beowulf and Modern America

A Comparison Between the World of Beowulf and Modern America

Length: 795 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
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. However, a closer look reveals a striking similarity between that code and today's work place. A lord or the modern-day boss chooses the best thanes/workers in the land through their experience in battle or a resume of previous employment. The lord/boss provides his thanes/employees with a share of his wealth/salaries. In return, a thane/employee promises to remain loyal to his lord/boss, ready to die in battle or at the office, finishing a project before a deadline. If a battle is won or a deal is closed, an ideal lord/boss, whose greatest characteristic is generosity, will divide the treasure among his thanes, or award a big bonus check to his employees. A violation of this agreement results in the exile/firing of the thane/employee, and a loss of livelihood followed by shame and embarrassment.

The Anglo-Saxon standards of a good leader can be further seen in the modern American political process. The quotation referring to the good prince who "by giving splendid gifts while still in his father's house makes sure that later in life beloved companions will stand by him, that the people will serve him when war comes" ( Norton p.27 ) provides a formula for political success. People tend to favor and vote for candidates who seem to offer the greatest rewards, such as tax cuts or needed legislation. Furthermore, those who support a candidate expect favors in return if that candidate is elected, just as gifts and bribes have become a way of retaining loyalty and trust. Even the idea of a smear campaign existed in Anglo-Saxon culture and can be seen when Unferth twists the truth about Beowulf's competition with Breca: "for he would not allow that any other man of middle-earth should ever achieve more glory under the heavens than himself." ( Norton p.33 )

Throughout the poem, similarities between personal relationships then and now are evident. Betrayal within a family, murder caused by jealousy, and marriage for the wrong reasons are all themes in Beowulf, yet a look at today's soap operas, talk shows, and movies reveals that little has changed.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"A Comparison Between the World of Beowulf and Modern America." 123HelpMe.com. 24 Jan 2020
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=42195>.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Comparison Between Beowulf And Beowulf Essay

- The most important events in Beowulf’s life seem to all be a matter of Dichotomy. Good versus evil. Beowulf encounters perilous monsters throughout his life that no man or woman would ever stand a chance of defeating. Beowulf embodies the classic storybook hero, whom is built with a strong body and a pure heart. Throughout this epic, Beowulf must harness his heroic body and pure heart into destroying the forces of evil in the world. Grendel is a horrid monster filled with evil and bloodthirsty rage; Grendel terrorizes the men of Heorot when he deems them as being too loud in the meadhall....   [tags: Beowulf, Good and evil, Epic poetry]

Research Papers
919 words (2.6 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 Vs. Gilgamesh : A Comparison Of Equally Epic Proportions Essay example

- Christopher McNutt Dr. Cantrell EN 207.002 12 November 2014 Beowulf vs. Gilgamesh: A Comparison of Equally Epic Proportions When modern readers think of the term “epic hero”, names such as Superman, Batman, and even real life figures such as LeBron James, AJ McCarron, and countless others instantly come into play. All of them have many similarities; they are all “larger-than-life” heroes who display many epic characteristics such as bravery, might, and supreme confidence. However, each is unique in his/her own way....   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, Epic poetry, Beowulf, Enkidu]

Research Papers
1222 words (3.5 pages)

Essay about Comparing Beowulf, By Jon Snow

- Beowulf is one of the oldest heroic poems that exists to this day. Likewise, it has been a theory for many that this poem has inspired authors and screenwriters alike in the creation process of fictional heroes for shows, movies, games, and books. Nonetheless, Beowulf’s trait of a modern-day superhero are shown everywhere. For example, Beowulf is brave, even willing to die for the greater good, he is abnormally stronger than most humans which in a way makes him superior, and he is somewhat of an natural leader that everyone seems to admire....   [tags: Hero, Beowulf]

Research Papers
1004 words (2.9 pages)

Essay about Comparing Beowulf And The Aspects Of Heroism

- In this paper the theme of Beowulf and the aspects of heroism will be established. Why Beowulf is a hero is going to be stated and after establishing the characteristics of a hero, all the factors of a villain will be named. Later the paper is going to acknowledge the stereotypical traits of a hero and then compare Beowulf to some of today 's most popular heroes. Finally it´s going to be expressed how the Anglo saxon who wrote Beowulf inspired other authors and how the majority sees heroes. Throughout history, tales of lionhearts have surfaced....   [tags: Hero, Superhero, Beowulf, Villain]

Research Papers
1015 words (2.9 pages)

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)

Comparison of Seven Beowulf Translations Essay

- Comparison of Seven Beowulf  Translations   There is not unanimity among Beowulf translators concerning all parts of the text, but there is little divergence from a single, uniform translation of the poem. Herein are discussed some passages which translators might show disagreement about because of the lack of clarity or missing fragments of text or abundance of synonyms or ambiguous referents.   After the Danish coast-guard meets and talks to Beowulf, the guard then begins his next speech with a brief maxim or aphorism:                                        Aeghwaepres sceal scearp scyldwiga            gescad witan, worda ond worca,           se pe wel penced....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Research Papers
1132 words (3.2 pages)

A Comparison of The Pardoners Tale and Beowulf Essay

- The Importance of The Pardoners Tale and Beowulf Literary history is a history of the major literary traditions, movements, works, and authors of a country, region, etc. (Barber 837). The understanding of literary history allows us insight into the past, a recognition of historical events and tensions written into the works of those who witnessed them. By including societal behaviors, political tensions, and common folklore, historical authors have indirectly provided the reader with a broader and deeper understanding of the literature and the period in which it was written....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Free Essays
1426 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on Comparing Beowulf and a Modern-Day Hero

-      This essay is the comparison between Beowulf and a modern day hero. I consider any American soldier to be my modern day hero. In this essay I will explain in three paragraphs of how my modern day hero is like Beowulf. With in these three paragraphs I will go over how they are both fighting for a good cause, how they are both rewarded for what they do, and how they are both treated with much respect.      The first comparison is how they are both fighting for a good cause, and I mean that they are trying to protect people, and doing the right thing....   [tags: Compare Contrast Comparison]

Free Essays
402 words (1.1 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)

Related Searches



Heorot, Hrothgar's great mead-hall, is destroyed by fire, because as the poem states: "sword-hate between son-in-law and father-in law will awaken after murderous rage." (Norton p.28) Cain murders Abel because he is jealous, and Unferth murders his brothers as well. A marriage made to bring peace between the Danes and the Jutes fails after a fight between the two nations breaks out killing many from both sides. These are just few examples found in Beowulf that are parallel to events that still happen in today's world and would make a great talk show topic, movie plot, or a newspaper headline.

Forms of entertainment, although highly advanced since the Anglo-Saxon period have retained the same general idea. In Beowulf's day, a scop would sing and tell stories to entertain those gathered at the hall; today theater, operas, and movies do the same. Modern America is highly youth oriented; consequently, looks, strength, and pride are essential in today's society. In Beowulf, these qualities carry great importance as well. At the celebration following Beowulf's victory over Grendel's mother, Hrothgar, now an old king warns Beowulf not to rely on his pride, youth, and strength because all of the above are fleeting: "Have no care for pride, great warrior. Now for a time there is glory in your strength, or fire's fangs, or flood's surge, or sword's swing, or spear's fight, or appalling age; brightness of eyes will fail and grow dark; then it shall be that death will overcome you, warrior." ( Norton p.49 ) This warning can be given today as well, because it applies to American society just as it did to Beowulf's, if not more.

Today we live in a technologically-advanced world filled with sophisticated machinery, yet human nature has remained the same, unchanged since the Anglo-Saxon period. Actions in modern America are parallel to those seen in Beowulf because although times have changed, people have stayed the same. Corruption, greed, and jealousy exist today, as do courage, bravery, and nobility. A struggle between good and evil existed then and will continue to exist for centuries to come. Our greatest challenge, then, is in choosing whether we want to be like Beowulf and Wiglaf, noble and courageous, or like Unferth and Grendel, evil and greedy.
Return to 123HelpMe.com