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Beowulf: An Epic Literary Work Essay

1955 words - 8 pages

Beowulf is arguably one of the most riveting, and influential epic poems in Anglo-Saxon history. The author of this epic is still unknown as is the exact date that it was written though historians predict that it was written somewhere in between the 8th and 11th Centuries. The story is set in Scandinavia and is about a Geatish hero named Beowulf and his epics and heroics. It is a poem that follows Beowulf through his life as he comes to the aid of the king of Danes and at a relatively young age slays a couple of dragons. Later on in his life he becomes the king himself but finds that there is still a mythical beast out that begins to terrorize his kingdom. Hinds, G. (2011)
The Beowulf poem expertly chronicles this hero’s noble actions up until his death at the end of the epic poem. Beowulf goes great lengths to prove that he is worthy of honor and because of his many accomplishments, he was able to win over the kingdom. In my paper,one can summarize the epic poem by going into each battle and each funeral that separates the story and later attempt to bring out some of the deeper meanings within each part.
The story of Beowulf starts off with a funeral of one of the most highly thought of people in the region. Shield Sheafson was one of the greatest rulers in the Scandinavian region. He was the king of the Danes and was most remembered for how he scourged from many tribes and conquered many cities. He is of the same lineage of the current king, Hroogar, and was greatly respected and loved by his people. This was made evident during his funeral which took place at sea. During this funeral, the people gave him much gold and many weapons to signify his importance. The first funeral was also used to help introduce Beowulf; the main protagonist of the story.
I believe that the first funeral in Beowulf was used to emphasize the fact that battling and honor were the two most important things to this society. Shield Sheafson was obviously made famous for being the king of the Danes, but he was beloved for his battle records when going on to conquer other towns, cities, and kingdoms.
Because of King Shield’s many victories in war, his honor and impressive amount of followers grew quickly. He was rewarded with various treasures, weapons, and gold while being made somewhat of a god to his people due to his many war victories. Also, the fact that he was not buried in dirt; but rather set to drift at sea with his many treasures, suggests that his greatness as a warrior lead his followers to give him many special treatments. Finally, one can tell that Shield’s honor and war history was important during the burial because he was set to drift with his armor as if to say that he would have a use for it during battles in the afterlife.
The story of Beowulf’s first battle starts off peacefully. It begins with the writer telling about King Hroogar and how he built a place called Heorot. Heorot was originally built so that the king, his wife, and his people...

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