The Importance Of Political Structure In Beowulf

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While the author of Beowulf did not initially intend for the epic to become one of the most researched and foundational works in the English language, and therefore, did not go into much detail about its setting and surrounding political structures, the unnamed writer left behind important clues regarding Scandinavian and English political, economic, geographical, and societal bodies. Although not much is known about the author, it is evident through their writing, especially in the societal structure mentioned in the epic, that they were of English descent, specifically, born in the middle of seventh and end of tenth century England, according to Seamus Heaney in the introduction to his translation of Beowulf. Societal clues are the most prominent in proving this claim, as they merge Scandinavian and Old English structures, and at its most form, Beowulf is a Scandinavian tale told through an Englishman’s persepctive.
The political structure of Beowulf’s setting is very scarcely hinted at and touched on by the original author, and while it primarily takes place in what is modern day Scandinavia in Denmark and Sweden, as referenced by Heaney’s introduction, there are hints of the writer’s English heritage in the epic in regards to the government. The political and societal system in Beowulf is a patriarchal hierarchy with a king at the top, as evidenced by Hrothgar, Hyglac, and eventually, Beowulf’s control over their tribes. Although the king has the most earthly power, God

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