“There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.” – Ayn Rand. To fully understand the complex world and culture of the Anglo-Saxons, one must examine the only form of historical evidence available – texts. One particular great work from this time period is often underrated and overshadowed in modern society by many other ancient works such as Iliad or Oedipus Rex. The epic poem, Beowulf, was sung by multiple unknown Anglo-Saxon poets four centuries before the Norman Conquest. The theme of good versus evil was constantly reappearing throughout the storyline, the portrayal of evil and its downfall initially shaped the poem’s plot, and illustrates an alien presence; something that
“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.
Beowulf is a hero, and we all know a hero when we see one. There are many traits and characteristics that make someone a hero. These traits and characteristics are more expressed in ancient epics and poems. Beowulf is one of the most famous ancient Anglo-Saxon poems still taught to this day in schools and colleges all over the world. The story starts off of how a man by the name of Beowulf receives news that a neighboring land is being terrorized by a monster named Grendel. Beowulf shows several characteristics of here such as, bravery, loyalty, generosity, friendship, and showing a high level of intellect. Beowulf first shows his heroic character through his bravery while journeying on his epic quest. There are several cases where he is not afraid, and instead of being frightened, he shows great bravery. An example of from the poem is, “Instead, they inspected omens and spurred his ambitions to go, whilst he moved about like the leader he was, enlisting men, the best he could find; with fourteen others the warrior boarded the boast as captain” (Beowulf 205-210). This quote gives proof of his bravery because he was the head of the group leading his men. Beowulf proves that even he himself must be brave in order to lead the bravest of men into battle.
Beowulf is an Anglo-Saxon epic that was transmitted verbally for hundreds of years before it was written down. Around the time of its composition, Christianity was beginning to gain prominence in England and was quickly replacing the animistic religion of the Celts. As a result of the dueling religions of the time, the poem includes influences from both Christianity and paganism, leaving its readers to wonder which religion had the most sway over the poet. Beowulf is a fundamentally more Christian epic on account of Beowulf’s resemblances of Jesus Christ, its allusions to the Bible, and its intimation of a supreme, monotheistic religion.
Beowulf is one of the oldest poems in history, it was originally written in Anglo-Saxon, and it was told orally with many literary devices so it could be remembered throughout generations. It shows what their society was based on back in the Anglo-Saxon era. Although throughout history the poem has been changed to fit our modern day society. For example, having different values and morals and how we look at religion has all changed. In the Beowulf poem and movie there are many similarities and differences in Religion, Characterization, and Morals it highlights the value and beliefs of each society.
Beowulf is an epic poem being cited as one of the most important works of Old English literature. Beowulf is an Old English epic poem. The poem is set in Scandinavia. Beowulf, a hero of Geats, comes to the aid of Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, whose mead hall in Herot has been under attack by a monster named Grendel. After Beowulf slays him, Grendel's mother attacks the hall and is then also defeated. Victorious, Beowulf goes home to Geatland and later becomes king of the Geats. After a period of fifty years has passed, Beowulf defeats a dragon, but is mortally wounded in the battle. After his death, his attendants cremate his body and erect a tower on a headland in his memory. Beowulf is clearly a hero because of his brave deeds, he is a strong and responsible leader, and his courage. Beowulf is a hero because of his brave deeds. Throughout Beowulf, Beowulf does many deeds which are considered to be brave during the Anglo-Saxon period.“Grendel is no braver, no stronger/Than I am! I could kill him with my sword; I shall not,Easy as it would be. This fiend is a bold And famous fighter, but his claws and teeth.../ Beating at my sword blade, would be helpless. I will meet him With my hands empty-unless his heart /Fails him, seeing a soldier waiting /Weaponless, unafraid. Let God in His wisdom /Extend His hand where He wills, reward /Whom he chooses!”. In his first battle, Beowulf fights Grendel. He fights without any armor. Also, Beowulf kills Grendel’s mother. He then
Throughout the book of Beowulf by an unknown author, the main character Beowulf was an amazing leader and hero. To the naked eye, he would appear to be the ideal person to become, and he would have done nothing wrong. Looker closer at the text, some shady details are discovered. The primary example being the last words of the book “They said he was, of kings in this world, the kindest to his men, the most courteous man, the best to his people, and the most eager for fame” (Chickering, Line. 3180-3182, pg 243). The last line saying most eager for fame almost negates all of the other fantastic things about him. The writer does this purposefully, but it is hard for the audience to tell what this means. The remaining question asked is whether this is Beowulf’s fatal flaw or not. I believe that it truly is, and that it the end, it leads to his downfall. Throughout the book, Beowulf had been very prideful in what he does, which is actually a good thing for a king to do, but only to some extent. The first time we see a hint of his pride going too far is near the beginning of the book. When Ecglaf’s son, Unferth, which means “un-peace” talks about how Beowulf was foolish and boastful to swim in the freezing cold waters with his friend, and it was out of pride that made him decide to do it. By the end of this tail, Beowulf replies telling what truly happened. He explains that they were just kids, and they ended up going through so much, and that he was a stronger swimmer, but he did
Through analysis of the text Beowulf translated by Burton Raffel, it is questionable of whether or not Beowulf is good or evil. Based on his actions, intentions and motivations behind his actions, and the way culture shapes him, it is clear that he is, in fact, an evil character. Beowulf is a dishonorable character who is self-absorbed and only saves the people of Herot for fame and wealth.
The story of Beowulf deals with life, death, violence, kings, and monsters. Written around 800 CE, and then picked up hundreds of years later to be rewritten by a monk, it is written well after the coming of Christ. It could be simply read as an action adventure, filled with conquests and elaborate feasts, as were common of Old English tales. The story is not that simple though, and gives us a peek into a culture going through some drastic changes. Once built upon a Pagan belief system void of Christ and saturated with values such as revenge and violence, the Anglo-Saxons did not immediately adopt all of Christianity. There was a lengthy time in which both sets of beliefs were muddled and weaved together haphazardly, where no one religion was distinct. Beowulf is an example of these cultural influences crashing together. While Christianity in Beowulf, the Old English epic poem, looks different than the Christianity we recognize today, the story is built with Christian values.
The main character in the epic poem “Beowulf” is Beowulf. An epic hero is one that has superhuman qualities and who beholds values of his society and is braver than life. “Epics are stories told on a grand scale, with armies, heroes, gods, and the brutal forces of nature depicted over long character arcs and sweeping landscapes.” (Rebecca Ray 1) Beowulf is a selfless warrior that puts the kingdom of Herot first and tries to rid evil for the people.
Most teachers emphasize that a well-written character in a story should be deep, believable, and human, with flaws and personality. Then, say that Beowulf, a poem about a man who is as deep as a sheet of paper, is a masterpiece. While the poem Beowulf is one of the most important and influential pieces of literature in the world, Beowulf himself is a poorly written character when compared to characters of today’s standards.
After a long journey, you find yourself in uncharted territory. As you scout the area, you notice a small village off in the distance. Upon approaching this settlement, you are greeted by some armed townsfolk. They attack you without warning, and take you to a large hall in the center of town. There, you see many men parading around in an intoxicated stupor, showing off their trophies and talking of their success in past battles and wars. They eat with bare hands, ripping at the food and drinking until they can no longer handle themselves, finding a home on the open floor. The hall is dressed with weapons of war, from shields to swords and everything in between. The women are wrapped in chains, fulfilling their only purpose of serving the
In the epic poem, Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, it is said, "Behavior that's admired is the path to power among people" (Beowulf 5). That being stated, it is very apparent throughout the entirety of the story. The main character, Beowulf, quickly comes to a position of power once defeating multiple atrocities and executing numerous heroic deeds. The people in the city admire Beowulf and abide to his ways; but once offered kingship, he declines. Throughout the epic poem, it is obvious that Beowulf would rather be a hero than a king because of the individual representation that comes with it, the rewards, and the self-reliant aspect.