Beowulf: An Analysis

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Stav Gare Mrs. Saddler English 11/26/10 Beowulf Anglo Saxons are Germanic people that lived during the 5th and 6th centuries. This early Anglo-Saxon society was centered on families and clans. The earliest Saxon settlers and families in England were pagans who worshipped a number of gods. Although Anglo Saxons had unalterable beliefs, Christians eventually purveyed their religion upon the pagans. However, the ideals of paganism still perpetuate through the most prominent epic poem of this era called Beowulf. Beowulf embodies both epic and Christian poetry, but since the written language of Old English was not fully developed during this period, oral poetry was the basis of passing down important information about their society.…show more content…
But fate let [him]/ Find its heart with [his] sword/hack [himself] free” (286-290). However, Beowulf claims that a person can succeed through courageous behavior without the help of god, as long as one’s fate has not yet been decided. Ultimately, Beowulf is the depiction of an epic hero who is only one example that shows that Beowulf is a perfect embodiment of Anglo Saxon times. Literary devices are displayed as another focal attribute in Beowulf. Some literary devices used in Beowulf are kennings and alliteration. Kennings are conventional metaphoric names for something, and used especially in Old English and Norse poetry like Beowulf. A few examples of kennings in Beowulf are “Gold-Friend” which means good friend, “whale-road” which is ocean, and “shield-bearers” which include fighters and the king’s men. Alliteration is the repetition of a constant sound that makes the story have a more poetic sound. This is exemplified in Beowulf when Grendel is “dragging the dead men home to his den” (80-84) after he goes to the kingdom. This leads Beowulf to fight Grendel and all the men proclaim, “the sharpest and hardest iron/ could not scratch at his skin, for that sin-stained demon/ had bewitched all men’s weapons, laid spells…” (482-484). The interpretation of Christian and pagan values also are illustrations of poetic devices. Beowulf can be perceived as a warrior who either sacrifices himself in battle for the well being of his people, which is a Christian

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