The Epic Poem Of Beowulf And The Tale Of The Great Warrior

1543 words - 7 pages

The epic poem of Beowulf and the tale of the great warrior has been one of the most revered texts of old Anglo-Saxon literature, and has maintained a self-sustaining relevance in today’s society as a result of the vast amounts of translations and reworks of the tale into movies, art, and literature. The epic poem dates back to the ninth century and was first translated off of an old frayed manuscript, leaving some portions of the epic to be left up to the reader of the absent text. The epic story was thought to originate from an oral background as traditional folk tale, yet this has been questioned for debate. On thing that is certain is the fact that Beowulf , is full of thematic elements ...view middle of the document...

Beowulf also brings light to darkness as Beowulf goes into the dragon’s barrow of treasures which is also a dark symbols of the clash that occurs. J.R.R. Tolkien was a well-known avid fan of Beowulf and in his paper entitled “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics”, he refers many a time to the evil monsters that he (Beowulf) faced and that the battles between the monsters and Beowulf are really a battle between Beowulf’s soul and its adversaries (Tolkien, 39). Reputation was a big part of Beowulf identity he was used to never losing a battle and never needing to ask others for help. Grendel on the other hand doesn’t have quite as clean and pure background. Grendel is an outcast in the poem he is the byproduct of the sin that Cain committed by killing Abel, pure evil he (Grendel) is “Malignant by nature, he never showed remorse.”(Beowulf, 3) Many times the classic good versus evil tragedy has the evil one being a demon or monster, this is just a custom thematic element that has always been portrayed. And the fight between Grendel and Beowulf is an intriguing piece. Plenty of gore and violence to illustrate, the repercussions that one would face for being on the “dark” and fugitive side of society. A perfectly parallel example of how good side should always prevail when up against the evil.
Beowulf takes place between 5th -7th century Scandinavia, the era in which the patriarchal society was simply another element of the way of life in these areas. These areas were great for telling great tales about string and courageous men that did things that not any men could do. These were told to illustrate the great men of the country and to define what the pinnacle of masculinity looked like as not any mere man shall see, this established the recognition of great warriors and gave great honor to those who went into battle fearlessly. The epic poem definitely reinvigorates the idea of masculinity and what desirable traits of men are in society. One of the indispensable backbones that masculinity offers is that of loyalty, in the epic poem when Grendel attacks Hrothgar’s hall all of the men band together and many die as a result of fighting in order to protect their kingdom until Beowulf comes up and helps the Danes and himself slays Grendel. Beowulf was a great speaker in the poem, and said things that truly displayed his masculinity through the virtue of wisdom. In many portions of the epic, Beowulf tells these speeches and has words for the people that truly revamp the admiration towards him, and gives his character wisdom through the medium of his spoken words. Just before he goes to face his final test against the dragon he gives a great speech that sheds light on prior victories and the journey he seeks in line to be king. According to Mary Catherine Davis, professor of Modern Philology at the University of Kansas, Beowulf had the “rhetoric of a preacher” (Davis, 147). He had a way with words that could get any army or set of men riled up. I think...

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