Beowulf’s Loyalty Epitomizes The Anglo Saxon Culture

2413 words - 10 pages

Beowulf is an Old English epic poem that was set in Scandinavia and it consist of more than 3000 lines. It is known for being one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature and has no known author. There is also a computer-animated movie of the same name directed by Robert Zemeckis which with the cast of Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich and Angelina Jolie. The movie and epic were similar in a number of ways however the movie detracts from the original essence of the Anglo Saxon text. The major inconsistency between the film version and the text is the turning of the noble hero characters – Kings, into ignoble adulterers who have brought trouble to their own people by means of their own infidelity thus weakening major literary themes and the debasing the representations of the heroic Anglo Saxon Kings. The objective of this paper is to highlight the theme of loyalty with support from analyzing scenes especially the downfall of Beowulf, character analysis and the symbolism of the text.
Plot Summary:
King Hrothgar, the ruler of the Danes lives in riches with his loyal subjects however is troubled by the rampages of a monster they have given the moniker of Grendel. Every night, Grendel attacks the mead-hall, Heorot, killing Hrothgar’s men – the Danish warriors and sometimes even eating them. Hrothgar was a great warrior in his time, but as an old king, he is unable to protect his people. Fortunately, a young warrior named Beowulf from Geatland travels to Heorot Hall to lend a helping hand – literally. Beowulf offers to assist Hrothgar as he felt he owed the Danish King a favour due to the help his father received many years ago. Beowulf offers to fight Grendel himself and King Hrothgar gratefully accepts his offer. Beowulf keeps an eye out and stands guard at Heorot Hall while all is sleeping and waits for the arrival of Grendel. Choosing to fight Grendel in hand-to-hand combat, Beowulf wrestles the demon into submission and eventually tears off his arm at the shoulder. Mortally wounded, Grendel flees into the wilderness and dies. Hrothgar and all the men in Heorot throw a celebration for Beowulf’s victory over the hellspawn that has terrorized them for the long period of time. Hrothgar bestows Beowulf many presents and treasures to reward him for his heroic defeat of the demon. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the Danes and the Geats, Grendel has an overprotective mother who decides to avenge her son. While all the warriors are sleeping after the celebration, Grendel’s mother attacks, however when the warriors wake up, she panics and flees back to her lair – a cave underneath a nearby lake. Beowulf, his warriors, and some of Hrothgar's brave men track her there. Beowulf dives into the lake and finds the cave, where he takes on Grendel's mother in another one-on-one battle. Seizing a nearby sword from Grendel's mother's treasure hoard, he slays her, even though her poisonous demon blood melts the blade. Due to the...

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