10th Grade Honors English
13 July 2015
Author: Seamus Heaney
Date of Publication: 2000
Genre: epic heroic poem
Plot: During the Dark Ages of Europe, in the late 5th century, powerful Scandinavian empires emerged. One of those, the Danish empire, prospered under its ruler, Hrothgar, a decendent of the great Shield Sheafson. To commemorate his warriors for helping him build his empire, Hrothgar built a great mead hall, a place where his warriors could drink and enjoy themselves. He named this mead hall Herot and built it in the swamplands, unaware of the danger lurking nearby. Grendel, a hellish monster and descendent of Cain, was angered by the loud and cheerful noises of Herot, and thus every night he terrorized the warriors and went on a killing spree striking fear and anger in the hearts of the Danes. Word of this fear and anger spread and eventually inspired a young Geatish prince, Beowulf, to help. Beowulf was determined to kill Grendel, and Hrothgar greatly supported his cause. When Beowulf arrived in Denmark, he was warmly greeted by Hrothgar but strongly warned of Grendel’s ferocity. When night fell Grendel began to massacre the warriors until he was suddenly stopped by Beowulf who was stronger than he imagined. The two wrestled and fought until Beowulf ripped Grendel’s arm off, who then retreated into the swamp to die. Beowulf was proven victorious and showered with gifts from Hrothgar.
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Beowulf, king of the Geats, engages in battles in order to protect his community from physical creatures while King Arthur’s knights engage in spiritual battles against evil temptation which lurks around every corner. Beowulf proudly displays his prowess before he must confront Grendel, the “God-cursed brute” when he declares with bold confidence that he “can calm the turmoil” (Heaney 11, 21). Beowulf boasts of his strength, pledging to kill Grendel with his bare hands. Grendel, the cursed descendant of Cain, enjoys death and destruction, ruining Hrothgar’s reputation with every attack on his kingdom. The monster kills one of his men, angering the Thanes and encouraging them to fight
“Then when darkness had dropped, Grendel went up to Herot, wondering what the warriors would do in that hall when their drinking was done. He found them sprawled in sleep, suspecting nothing , their dreams undisturbed. The monsters thoughts were as quick as his greed or his claws: He slipped through the door and there in silence snatched up thirty men, smashed them, unknowing in their beds and ran out with their bodies, blood dripping behind him, back to his lair, delighted with his nights slaughter (Narrator pg. 42 lines 30-40)”. Beowulf is a folk epic translated by Burton Raffel. Its a story about a hero with the strengths of a bear and a wolf called to a desperate town to defeat vicious monsters who have been tormenting them for the past
Greetings, Welcome to the Mead Hall of Hrothgar for our dinner party in honor of the Great Beowulf. Beowulf is the greatest warrior to ever live and has saved us all from the horrifying Grendel. I will now say a toast in honor of the great Beowulf. We were all in the reign of terror from Grendel’s raging hatred for man for twelve whole years. His killings didn’t ever cease or get easier. We have received a great hero who has traveled from his own country where he has heard of the great terror that Grendel has caused us and has decided to help us by volunteering to fight against the mythical creature that is undefeatable. “So Beowulf chose the mightiest men he could find
Beowulf’s first battle is against Grendel in an attempt to help King Hrothgar of Denmark and the Danes. The king builds a great mead-hall known as Heorot, where his warriors can gather to drink, receive gifts from their lord, and listen to stories sung by the bards. All the noise and commotion angers Grendel, who is a horrible demon that lives in the swamplands of the king’s kingdom. Grendel is an outcast who desperately wants to be a part of the Danes. He is bitter about being excluded from the mead-hall festivities. As a result of his jealousy and loneliness, Grendel terrorizes the Danes every night, killing them and defeating their efforts to fight back. The Danes live in fear, danger, and suffer death from Grendel for many, many years. Eventually, word of the kingdom’s suffering at the hands of Grendel reaches Beowulf. He feels inspired by the challenge of defeating the monster and decides to help the Danes. The king holds a big feast to celebrate Beowulf’s help,
They praise sir Beowulf, thanking him greatly. Yet little did this town or Beowulf know the agony yet to come. Grendel was indeed a monster, but a monster who was the spawn of a cruel creature. The slain monster’s mother, a she-wolf would be the hero’s next challenge. He would travel to the home of the monster’s mother, to yet again engage in the act of battle. They shall meet in the deep depths of the marshy hell. Beowulf would try to defeat the she-wolf with his sword but would not be enough. As he begins to become beaten, and weak, he sees a sword that may be to his advantage. “A heavy sword, hammered by giants, strong and blessed by their magic, the best of all weapons but so massive that no ordinary man could lift its carved and decorated length” (page 54 line 530-535) He raised thy mighty sword and struck the devil in the neck, cutting the entire head off. Hrothgar’s men watch the monster’s lake filled with blood. Thinking all hope and gone and mighty Beowulf had been killed. Yet as the old men begin to whisper the mighty hero rises from the lake, only holding the she-wolfs head and the giant’s sword. The Beowulf would return with the head and place the monsters head in front of the
Death perception is what sets apart the wise from the foolish and the sensitive from the weak minded; this statement is both true within life and the epic poem Beowulf. Many statements within the spectrum of death in the current world relates and dates back to this one poem, even more so now through the translation of Seamus Heaney. Passed along as a folk tale from as early as the 5th century to the 9th century, and then composed in about the 10th century, Beowulf creates a solid base for many of today’s present and worldly ideals. Countless themes are taken from this poem, but one theme that many people may glaze over is the extremely morbid tone of death and its purpose. Used as an archetype for the audience, the purpose of this morbid theme of death is to help understand and cope with mortality, especially during that time period. Accepting/ understanding is wiser than foolishly attempting to escape or cheat death as the poem blatantly proves after closely analyzing its purpose of discussing fate and death before the battles; choosing to always stand by good morals and actions; and the major significance of the main character’s death along with a couple counterarguments. By examining each aspect, the reader will gain the realization as to why Seamus Heaney decided to create this theme that he did with the direction from “The Beowulf poet [that] was captivated by the imagery of death” (Tanke 356).
Beowulf and Grendel are two different stories, and characters, who look at the same situation in polarized ways. Each character has their own story that is written from different time periods: the Anglo-Saxon time period and America in the 1970’s. Both of these time periods have different attributes that make them special; the Anglo-Saxon time period consists of the literary movement of the epic poem and America in the 1970’s consists of the literary movement known as postmodernism. Beowulf is shaped by the Anglo-Saxon time period through its use of the heroic code and religious influences and Grendel is shaped by the American 1970’s time period through its use of metafiction and an unreliable narrator.
A man quivers in fear as a large monstrous mass stands before him. He shouts for help, but there is no left to come to his aid. For years the Grendel attacked this mead-hall killing hundreds of men. A hero was needed in order to purge the village of this beast. Beowulf used his mental and physical strength for the betterment of the village because he came on his own accord without any prior knowledge; he puts his faith in god and not within his own strength; and he dies with honor and not in vain.
Beowulf appeared to fight the monsters purely to protect the Danes and Geats from further attacks. However upon closer inspection, Beowulf saw the fights against the monsters as an opportunity to gain a larger repertoire for himself. Grendel, the evil monster, had been savagely attacking the people under Hrothgar’s rule in Denmark because they built their banquet hall, Heorot, on top of Grendel’s underground home. The sounds from Heorot during feasts would be very loud and excruciatingly
First, Grendel is an angry demon who has been attacking Hrothgar’s Kingdom and hurting the villagers for twelve years. Some people refer Grendel as, “Grim demon”. Beowulf is informed about Grendel destroying the kingdom and hurting innocent people. One night Grendel had struck Beowulf’s men with his brutal strength. After Grendel slaughtered all the men, Beowulf walked up to Grendel tried to grab, but Beowulf grabbed Grendel’s arm and held onto him with a firm grip. Grendel was trying his best to escape Beowulf because of his brute strength. For example, “you could hear Grendel’s claws cracking.” Beowulf through Grendel’s urge to rip Grendel’s whole arm and part of his chest off. Beowulf watched as Grendel died slowly from the amount of blood loss.
Upon entering the Danes' hall, Herot, Grendel is confronted by Beowulf, who immediately seizes Grendel's arms and drives fear into the monster's heart, "... [Grendel] knew at once that nowhere on earth/ Had he met a man whose hands were harder..." (lines 751-752). Through his slaughter of Grendel, Grendel's mom, the dragon, and other monsters, Beowulf proves his amazing strength to the other characters and to the readers.
The main protagonist, Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, comes to the aid of Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, whose great hall, Heorot, is plagued by the monster Grendel. Beowulf kills Grendel with his bare hands and Grendel's mother with a sword, which giants once used, that Beowulf found in Grendel's mother's lair.
In the poem, Beowulf, by an unknown poet, as translated by Seamus Heaney, we see many monstrous behaviors. A few of the examples stand out more than the rest: wanton destruction, a woman acting as a man, and the act of killing one’s kin.
The novel Beowulf by Seamus Heaney is told in late medieval Anglo-Saxon Britain, after they were already christianized, but its about early medieval Scandinavia, which is pagan. Although Beowulf is believed to be pagan, the narrator of the poem makes constant references to God suggesting that hero Beowulf’s trust in God can be translated into christianity. The Angelo Saxon legends were passed down through oral tradition, so by the time the monks got it, they added several christian elements to it. The author may have written it to influence the pagan people at the time. In Beowulf, there are many pagan practices described, the relationship between God(s), and shows how the heroic code conflicts with christian sensibility. Grendel is said to