Beowulf Society

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Beowulf Society The earliest known manuscript of Beowulf is thought to have been written in the tenth century, however, the poem had most likely been told as an oral tradition for centuries before that. In fact, the poem's events date back to the sixth century. However, because there is only one manuscript of Beowulf still in tact very little is known about the poem or its author. The poem does, however, give us great insight into the culture of the people who composed and told this epic tale. Because the poem was performed orally mainly between the eighth and tenth centuries, but dealt with subject matter of centuries earlier, it is difficult to decipher and separate the cultural context involved in the poem from one century to the next. …show more content…

He is nearly beaten by the monster's mother until he wields the famous old sword of the giants which had magical power to save him. While he is not as heroic in his second battle, Beowulf still displays many of the virtues essential for heroism and even survival. He was required to use ingenuity rather than strength in his battle and was required to go through an extremely difficult process in order to get to the monster's lair, almost like an initiation. However, he came out of the whole ordeal wiser and greatly rewarded. This first two battles also, surprisingly, represented what may have been an influence of Christian values on the culture. While the Christianity is not quite the same as we would expect in a more modern setting, it was just beginning to gain some influence in Europe at the time of this story. This was a period of a conversion of the paganistic beliefs into something that more closely resembled Christianity. Many of the principles and ideals of the two were combined to create a more familiar understanding view of Christianity for the predominantly pagan population. The Christianity in the story is more closely tied in with Moses' Old Testament teachings of revenge and equality than Christ's teachings of peace, love and forgiveness. Grendel's mother attempts to avenge the death of her son while at the same time Beowulf is

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