Every epic hero acquires certain heroic characteristics. The poem, “Beowulf, is about the most heroic man of the Anglo-Saxon period. Beowulf is a warrior from Geatland that comes to help Hrothgar, the king of Danes, defeat the monster Grendel who has been killing men in their kingdom. Beowulf defeats the unstoppable beast, Grendel. Then Grendel’s mother comes to try to avenge Grendel’s death, and Beowulf slaughters her in her underwater lair. After 50 peaceful years of ruling the Geats, Beowulf in his old age fights his last battle with a dragon. He defeats the dragon, with help from Wiglaf, but dies as a result. The main character, Beowulf exemplifies many characteristics that an epic hero possesses. Beowulf’s characteristics include
The poem Beowulf, believed to be written between 650 and 800 by a group of monks, contains several complex characters that have sparked discussions throughout the years. Scholars still continue to ponder over the unanswered questions about characters, such as whether Grendel is monster or human, whether Grendel is evil or not, and what the monsters in Beowulf signify. Other important, though less accepted questions include whether Beowulf is really a hero, or is in actuality a monster, and what allows the characters to be classified as either evil, or not evil. Because both sides of these arguments can be sufficiently supported with textual evidence, it is the reader’s responsibility to defend an appropriate answer. There are no
Throughout the poem, Beowulf is very set on being the hero for the Danes and his people of Geatland. This first starts with the explanation of his battling with the sea monsters beforehand. The explanation came about through his argument as to why Beowulf can defeat the monster Grendel. “I swam into the blackness of the night, hunting monsters out of the ocean and killing them one by one; death was my errand and the fate they had earned,” (Beowulf ln 421-425). This explains how he had killed the sea monsters all by himself and how then with this “success” he can kill Grendel by himself without the help of Hrothgar’s men. The narrator also alludes to the fact that Beowulf may be stretching the truth about his victory in this battle because there seemed to be no witnesses to this event. This raises the argument that although Beowulf used this as an explanation supporting his claim of defeating Grendel, the declare of
The epic poem, “Beowulf”, with no known author, tells the story of Beowulf and his various battles throughout his life. The first battle begins with the introduction of a “monster” named Grendel. He lives under the hall of Herot where the king and all his men party. Grendel was becoming irritated from the noise and attacked the hall, making everyone instantly think of him as a monster. This developed a theme of perception versus reality. Although Grendel is perceived as evil, the reality is his humanistic behavior proves the misconception of him being a monster.
The story of Beowulf has an unreliable narrator because the story is very one-sided with every battle being convenient for the protagonist Beowulf. The narrator glorifies Beowulf in the story to seem like a God who knows everything and can fight any monster. Even though, the narrator is unreliable doesn’t mean they are untrustworthy because there is consistency in the story. The story Beowulf can also contradict itself by using Pagan and Christian references in the same story. Consequently, Beowulf has an unreliable narrator who is fallible and makes mistakes based on character flaws and not untrustworthiness.
This leaves Beowulf as the monster, when we believe him to be the hero. For the rest of the poem this leaves us an opening to judge him on character. Because of this fault, one can believe that he is a faulty king and ruler, even though he does what a king is suppose to do; he gives gifts to his Geats.
The story of Beowulf is an ancient one, and one that has been passed down for generations. The ideals and themes are traditional and its message is clear throughout the entirety of the epic poem. Beowulf is told from the third person omniscient point of view, his conflict was always what one would call “the bad guy” or “the villain,” and though he died in the end, he won gold and victory for his kingdom; all bad guys defeated. John Gardner, author of Grendel, decided to take the classical story of good and evil, and tell a new story from the villain’s perspective. Grendel explores varying literary elements which exposes the character of Grendel to readers along with various themes represented throughout each page.
“No better king had ever lived, no prince so mild, no man so open to his people, so deserving of praise.” This is an ultimate description of the heroic events of Beowulf, an old Anglo-Saxon poem about a warrior who battles and destroys three horrifying monsters. Although written long ago, the emotions expressed within this work, emotions of bravery, valor, and ethics still speak to us centuries later. The anonymous author of the poem convinces us through the masterful use of various literary elements that emphasize its meaning and message. Conflict, imagery and setting are three literary elements that contribute to the effectiveness of the poem.
Nobody likes a liar and the Hollywood version of Beowulf makes him dishonest. In the poem, Beowulf is challenged by Unferth because the thinks Beowulf is over exaggerating himself about his accomplishment. Beowulf does tell them about how he defeated the monsters going detail to detail. But while he was bragging about it, he remembers a
There is enough evidence though to support that while the author does show some of these flaws of Beowulf, the author does not condemn Beowulf in the least bit. The initial extreme condemnation of Grendel is a major piece of evidence that of course the person that the author truly condemns is in fact Grendel. Beowulf’s refusal of help also is not a fair reason to believe the author condemns Beowulf. There is evidence that in fact Beowulf was the only experienced enough warrior to take on the Dragon. Lastly, a very strong piece of evidence that sets in stone that Beowulf is not condemned by the author is that the author goes as far as to compare Beowulf to God, saying that he is “stronger than anyone anywhere in this world”. These are all pieces of evidence that prove Beowulf is not condemned by the author. As John Niles points out in The Fatal Contradiction in
In the epic poem "Beowulf", the main character, Beowulf, is very prideful and arrogant. He believes he is the only one who can defeat the monster known as Grendel. Even after knowing people have been sent to kill Grendel for, "the space of twelve winters," ("Beowulf"147), Beowulf still believes he can kill Grendel. Him still willing to take on the challenge after an extensive amount of people were killed, shows how confident he is in his abilities. Beowulf is so prideful he says to the Queen, "'If we fail to rid you of the monster, we shall not live to carry home our shields,'"("Beowulf and Grendel"2). Beowulf promises to the Queen they will not come home until Grendel is dead. The use of figurative language makes the poem "Beowulf" more interesting
The narrator of Beowulf is indeed unreliable because of the irony and hidden clues used throughout the story. In Beowulf, the narrator is proposed as an all knowing speaker who decides how the story is said through the characters words. They may know what actually happened but told the story through the limited views of the characters. This would be considered an unreliable narrator due to the fact that what is being said could be false. Unreliable narrators then incorporate irony and clues so the reader can discover what is actually happening in the story. In Greta Olson “Fallible and Untrustworthy Narrators” article, it explains the uses of these hidden clues and irony that make narrator like the one in Beowulf unreliable. Beowulf’s narrator is unreliable because of their use irony and hidden messages.
Some literary scholars maintain that Beowulf developed character flaws through the course of the long narrative poem, and that at the time of his death he was a victim of pride, avarice, selfishness and an inordinate craving for glory. The purpose of this essay is to show that he was a tremendous hero from beginning to end.
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.