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Beowulf

In: English and Literature

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Beowulf in Old English [ˈbeːo̯wʊlf] or [ˈbeːəwʊlf]) is the conventional title[note 1] of an Old English heroic epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature.
It survives in a single manuscript known as the Nowell Codex. Its composition by an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet[note 2] is dated between the 8th[1][2] and the early 11th century.[3] In 1731, the manuscript was badly damaged by a fire that swept through a building housing a collection of Medieval manuscripts assembled by Sir Robert Bruce Cotton. The poem fell into obscurity for decades, and its existence did not become widely known again until it was printed in 1815 in an edition prepared by the Icelandic-Danish scholar Grímur Jónsson Thorkelin.[4]
In the poem, Beowulf, a hero of the Geats in Scandinavia, comes to the help of Hroðgar, the king of the Danes, whose mead hall (in Heorot) has been under attack by a monster known as Grendel. After Beowulf slays him, Grendel's mother attacks the hall and is then also defeated. Victorious, Beowulf goes home to Geatland in Sweden and later becomes king of the Geats. After a period of fifty years has passed, Beowulf defeats a dragon, but is fatally wounded in the battle. After his death, his attendants bury him in a tumulus, a burial mound, in Geatland.

Story

The main protagonist, Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, comes to the aid of Hroðgar, 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 of a giant that he found in her lair.
Later in his life, Beowulf is himself king of the Geats, and finds his realm terrorised by a dragon whose treasure had been stolen from his hoard in a burial mound. He attacks the dragon with the help of his thegns or servants, but they do not succeed. Beowulf decides to follow the dragon into its lair, at Earnanæs, but only his young Swedish relative Wiglaf dares join him along with Tinshaw. Beowulf finally slays the dragon, but is mortally wounded. He is buried in a tumulus or burial mound, by the sea.
Beowulf is considered an epic poem in that the main character is a hero who travels great distances to prove his strength at impossible odds against supernatural demons and beasts. The poem also begins in medias res ("into the middle of affairs") or simply, "in the middle", which is a characteristic of the epics of antiquity. Although the poem begins with Beowulf's arrival, Grendel's attacks have been an ongoing event. An elaborate history of characters and their lineages are spoken of, as well as their interactions with each other, debts owed and repaid, and deeds of valour. Structured by battlesJane Chance (Professor of English, Rice University) in her 1980 article "The Structural Unity of Beowulf: The Problem of Grendel's Mother" argued that there are two standard interpretations of the poem: one view which suggests a two-part structure (i.e., the poem is divided between Beowulf's battles with Grendel and with the dragon) and the other, a three-part structure (this interpretation argues that Beowulf's battle with Grendel's mother is structurally separate from his battle with Grendel).[5] Chance stated that, "this view of the structure as two-part has generally prevailed since its inception in J.R.R. Tolkien's Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics in Proceedings of the British Academy 22 (1936)."[5] In contrast, she argued that the three-part structure has become "increasingly popular."[5]

First battle: Grendel

Beowulf is challenged by a Danish coast guard, Evelyn Paul (1911).
Beowulf begins with the story of King Hroðgar, who constructed the great hall Heorot for his people. In it he, his wife Wealhþeow, and his warriors spend their time singing and celebrating, until Grendel, a troll-like monster who is pained by the noise, attacks the hall and kills and devours many of Hroðgar's warriors while they sleep. But Grendel does not touch the throne of Hroðgar, for it is described as protected by a powerful god. Hroðgar and his people, helpless against Grendel's attacks, abandon Heorot.
Beowulf, a young warrior from Geatland, hears of Hroðgar's troubles and with his king's permission leaves his homeland to help Hroðgar.
Beowulf and his men spend the night in Heorot. Beowulf bears no weapon because this would be an "unfair advantage" over the unarmed beast. After they fall asleep, Grendel enters the hall and attacks, devouring one of Beowulf's men. Beowulf has been feigning sleep and leaps up to clench Grendel's hand. The two battle until it seems as though the hall might collapse. Beowulf's retainers draw their swords and rush to his aid, but their blades can not pierce Grendel's skin. Finally, Beowulf tears Grendel's arm from his body at the shoulder and Grendel runs to his home in the marshes to die.

Second battle: Grendel's mother

The next night, after celebrating Grendel's death, Hrothgar and his men sleep in Heorot. Grendel's mother, angered by the death of her son, appears and attacks the hall. She kills Hroðgar's most trusted warrior, Æschere, in revenge for Grendel's death.
Hroðgar, Beowulf and their men track Grendel's mother to her lair under a lake. Beowulf prepares himself for battle; he is presented with a sword, Hrunting, by Unferth, a warrior who had doubted him and wishes to make amends. After stipulating a number of conditions to Hroðgar in case of his death (including the taking in of his kinsmen and the inheritance by Unferth of Beowulf's estate), Beowulf dives into the lake. He is swiftly detected and attacked by Grendel's mother. However, she is unable to harm Beowulf through his armour and drags him to the bottom of the lake. In a cavern containing Grendel's body and the remains of men that the two have killed, Grendel's mother and Beowulf engage in fierce combat.
At first, Grendel's mother appears to prevail. Beowulf, finding that Hrunting cannot harm his foe, discards it in fury. Beowulf is again saved from his opponent's attack by his armour. Beowulf grabs a magical sword from Grendel's mother's treasure, and with it beheads her. Travelling further into the lair, Beowulf discovers Grendel's corpse and severs its head. The blade of the magic sword melts like ice when it touches Grendel's toxic blood, until only the hilt is left. This hilt is the only treasure that Beowulf carries out of cavern, which he presents to Hroðgar upon his return to Heorot.[6] Beowulf then returns to the surface and to his men at the "ninth hour" (l. 1600, "nōn", about 3pm).[7] He returns to Heorot, where Hroðgar gives Beowulf many gifts, including the sword Nægling, his family's heirloom.

Third battle: The dragon

A 1908 depiction of Beowulf fighting the dragon by J. R. Skelton.
Beowulf returns home and eventually becomes king of his own people. One day, fifty years after Beowulf's battle with Grendel's mother, a slave steals a golden cup from the lair of an unnamed dragon at Earnaness. When the dragon sees that the cup has been stolen, it leaves its cave in a rage, burning everything in sight. Beowulf and his warriors come to fight the dragon, but Beowulf tells his men that he will fight the dragon alone and that they should wait on the barrow. Beowulf descends to do battle with the dragon but finds himself outmatched. His men, upon seeing this display and fearing for their lives, creep back into the woods. One of his men, however, Wiglaf, who finds great distress in seeing Beowulf's plight, comes to Beowulf's aid. The two slay the dragon, but Beowulf is mortally wounded.
Beowulf is buried in Geatland on a cliff overlooking the sea, where sailors are able to see his tumulus. The dragon's treasure is buried with him, in accordance with Beowulf's wishes, rather than distributed to his people, and there is a curse associated with the hoard to ensure that Beowulf's wish is kept.

Structured by funerals

It is widely accepted that there are three funerals in Beowulf.[8] The funerals are also paired with the three battles described above.[8] The three funerals share similarities regarding the offerings for the dead and the change in theme through the description of each funeral. Gale Owen-Crocker (Professor of Anglo-Saxon, University of Manchester) in The Four Funerals in Beowulf (2000) argues that a passage in the poem, commonly known as “The Lay of the Last Survivor” (lines 2247–66), is an additional funeral.[8] The funerals are themselves involved in the ritual of hoarding: the deposition of sacrificial objects with both religious and socio-economic functions.[9]

First Funeral: Scyld Scefing (lines 1–52)

The first funeral in the poem is of Scyld Scefing (translated in some versions as "Shield Shiefson") the king of the Danes.[10] The first section of the poem, (the first fitt), helps the poet illustrate the settings of the poem by introducing Hrothgar’s lineage. The funeral leads to the introduction of the hero, Beowulf and his confrontation with the first monster, Grendel. This passage begins by describing Scyld’s glory as a “scourge of many tribes, a wrecker of mead-benches.”[10] Scyld’s glory and importance is shown by the prestigious death he obtains through his service as the king of the Danes.[8] His importance is proven once more by the grand funeral given to him by his people: his funeral at sea with many weapons and treasures shows he was a great soldier and an even greater leader to his people.[8] The poet introduces the concepts of a heroic society through Scyld. The possessions buried with the king are elaborately described to emphasise the importance of such items.[8] The importance of these earthly possessions are then used to establish this dead king’s greatness in respect to the treasure.[8] Scyld’s funeral helps the poet to elaborate on the glory of battle in a heroic society and how earthly possessions help define a person‘s importance. This funeral also helps the poet to develop the plot to lead into the confrontation between the protagonist, Beowulf, and the main antagonist, Grendel.

Second Funeral: Hildeburg’s kin (lines 1107–24)

The second funeral in the poem is that of Hildeburg’s kin and is the second fitt of this poem.[10] The funeral is sung about in Heorot as part of a lay during the feasting to mark Beowulf's victory over Grendel. The death of Hildeburg’s brother Hnæf, son(s) and, later, her husband Finn the Frisian king are sung about as the result of fighting in Frisia between the visiting Danish chieftain Hnæf and his retainers (including one Hengest) and Finn's followers. The funeral mirrors the use of funeral offerings for the dead with extravagant possessions in Scyld's funeral.[10] Hildeburg’s relatives are buried with their armour and gold to signify their importance.[8] The second funeral differs from the first in that it is a cremation ceremony rather than a ship-burial. Furthermore, the poet focuses on the strong emotions of those who died while in battle.[10] Such gory details as “heads melt[ing], gashes [springing] open...and the blood [springing] out from the body’s wounds,”[10] depict war as horrifying rather than glorious.[8] Although the poet maintains the theme of possessions as important even in death, the glory of battle is challenged by the vicious nature of war. The second funeral is distinguished by themes contrasting with those of the first, as well as by a change in the direction of the plot which leads to Beowulf's fight against Grendel's Mother.

Controversial Funeral: Lay of the Last Survivor (lines 2247–66)

"The Lay of the Last Survivor" is arguably an addition to the other three funerals in Beowulf because of the striking similarities that define the importance of the other burials.[8] The similar burial customs, changes in setting and plot, and changes of theme parallel those in the other three funerals. The setting and plot also suggest that the lament is funeral: the Last Survivor describes burial offerings similar to those in the funerals of Scyld Scefing, Hildeburg’s kin, and Beowulf.[8] The Last Survivor describes the many treasures left for the dead such as the weapons, armour and golden cups[10], strongly paralleling Scyld’s “well furbished ship..., bladed weapons and coats of mail,”[10] Hildeburg’s kin’s “blood-plastered coats of mail [and] boar-shaped helmets”[10] and Beowulf's treasure from the dragon.[10]
An additional argument for viewing this passage as a funeral lies in the statement, “tumbling hawk [and] swift horse”[10]. This is an animal sacrifice, which was a burial custom during the era in which the poem takes place.[8] Moreover, this passage, like the other funerals, signifies changes in setting and plot.[8] It has also been argued that this is the third part of the poem since it describes the settings during the time lapse before the final battle between Beowulf and the Dragon. The poet also describes the horror of death in battle, a theme continued from the second part of the poem, through the Last Survivor’s eyes.[8]

Third Funeral: Beowulf (lines 3137–82)

The barrow of Skalunda, a barrow that was identified by the archaeologist Birger Nerman as Beowulf's burial mound.[11]
The final funeral of the poem is Beowulf's. During the final battle against the dragon, Beowulf receives fatal wounds and dies. The greatness of Beowulf's life is demonstrated through this funeral, particularly through the many offerings of his people.[8] "Weohstan's son (pause) commanded it be announced to many men (pause) that they should fetch from afar wood for the pyre."[10] for their leader's funeral. The dragon's remains are thrown into the sea, a parallel to Scyld's burial in his ship. Beowulf's funeral is the fourth fitt of the poem and acts as an epilogue for the hero who is the "most gracious and fair-minded, kindest to his people and keenest to win fame."[10]

Historical background

Approximate central regions of tribes mentioned in Beowulf with the location of the Angles. See Scandza for details of Scandinavia's political fragmentation in the 6th century.
The events described in the poem take place in the late 5th century, after the Anglo-Saxons had begun their migration to England, and before the beginning of the 7th century, a time when the Anglo-Saxon people were either newly arrived or still in close contact with their Germanic kinsmen in Scandinavia and Northern Germany. The poem may have been brought to England by people of Geatish origins.[12] It has been suggested that Beowulf was first composed in the 7th century at Rendlesham in East Anglia, as the Sutton Hoo ship-burial also shows close connections with Scandinavia, and also that the East Anglian royal dynasty, the Wuffings, were descendants of the Geatish Wulfings.[13][14] Others have associated this poem with the court of King Alfred, or with the court of King Canute.[3]
Ohthere's mound
The poem deals with legends, was composed for entertainment, and does not separate between fictional elements and real historic events, such as the raid by King Hygelac.

Writing

The Beowulf manuscript was transcribed from an original by two scribes, one of whom wrote the first 1939 lines and a second who wrote the remainder, so the poem up to line 1939 is in one handwriting, whilst the rest of the poem is in another.[3] The script of the second scribe is archaic.[3] Both scribes proofread their work down to even the most minute error. The second scribe slaved over the poem for many years "with great reverence and care to restoration".[3] The first scribe's revisions can be broken down into three categories "the removal of dittographic material; the restoration of material that was inadvertently omitted or was about to be omitted; and the conversion of legitimate, but contextually incorrect words to the contextually proper words. These three categories provide the most compelling evidence that the scribe was generally attentive to his work while he was copying, and that he later subjected his work to careful proofreading." The work of the second scribe bears a striking resemblance to the work of the first scribe of the Blickling homilies, and so much so that it is believed they derive from the same scriptorium.[3] From knowledge of books held in the library at Malmesbury Abbey and available as source works, and from the identification of certain words particular to the local dialect found in the text, the transcription may have been made there.[27] However, for at least a century, some scholars have maintained that the description of Grendel’s lake in Beowulf was borrowed from St. Paul’s vision of Hell in Homily 16 of the Blickling homilies.[3] Most intriguing in the many versions of the Beowulf FS is the transcription of alliterative verse. From the first scribe's edits, emenders such as Klaeber were forced to alter words for the sake of the poem. "The lack of alliteration in line 1981 forced Klaeber in his edition, for example, to change side (the scribe's correction) to heal. The latter scribe revealed not only astute mechanical editing, but also unbridled nourishment of the physical manuscript itself.".[28] Over the years Beowulf scholars have put the work of the scribes under intense scrutiny, many debate whether the scribes even held a copy as some believe they worked solely from oral dictation. Men such as Benjamin Thorpe saw many errors in rhetoric and diction, implying that the transcribing made little to no sense. Most intriguing however becomes the abhorrence of the first scribe's mechanical editing. This reveals the strength of Beowulf's oral history as poetic flow were prioritised over dialect/ grammatical coherency.[28]
The poem mixes the West Saxon and Anglian dialects of Old English, though it predominantly uses West Saxon, as do other Old English poems copied at the time.[citation needed]
There is a wide array of linguistic forms in the Beowulf manuscript. It is this fact that leads some scholars to believe that Beowulf has endured a long and complicated transmission through all the main dialect areas.[3] The poem retains a complicated mix of the following dialectical forms: Mercian, Northumbrian, Early West Saxon, Kentish and Late West Saxon.[3] Kiernan argues that it is virtually impossible that there could have been a process of transmission which could have sustained the complicated mix of forms from dialect to dialect, from generation to generation, and from scribe to scribe.[3]
Kiernan’s argument against an early dating based on a mixture of forms is long and involved, but he concludes that the mixture of forms points to a comparatively straightforward history of the written text as:
... an 11th-century MS; an 11th-century Mercian poet using an archaic poetic dialect; and 11th-century standard literary dialect that contained early and late, cross-dialectical forms, and admitted spelling variations; and (perhaps) two 11th-century scribes following slightly different spelling practices.[3]
According to this view, Beowulf can largely be seen to be the product of antiquarian interests and that it tells readers more about "an 11th-century Anglo-Saxon’s notions about Denmark, and its pre-history, than it does about the age of Bede and a 7th- or 8th-century Anglo-Saxon’s notions about his ancestors’ homeland."[3] There are in Beowulf rather more than thirty-one hundred distinct words, and almost thirteen hundred occur exclusively, or almost exclusively, in this poem and in the other poetical texts. Considerably more than one-third of the total vocabulary is alien from ordinary prose use. There are in round numbers three hundred and sixty uncompounded verbs in Beowulf, and forty of them are poetical words in the sense that they are unrecorded or rare in the existing prose writings. One hundred and fifty more occur with the prefix ge- (reckoning a few found only in the past-participle), but of these one hundred occur also as simple verbs, and the prefix is employed to render a shade of meaning which was perfectly known and thoroughly familiar except in the latest Anglo-Saxon period. The nouns number sixteen hundred. Seven hundred of them, including those formed with prefixes, of which fifty (or considerably more than half) have ge-, are simple nouns. at the highest reckoning not more than one-fourth is absent in prose. That this is due in some degree to accident is clear from the character of the words, and from the fact that several reappear and are common after the Norman Conquest.[53]

Form and metre

An Old English poem such as Beowulf is very different from modern poetry. Anglo-Saxon poets typically used alliterative verse, a form of verse that uses alliteration as the principal structuring device to unify lines of poetry, as opposed to other devices such as rhyme, a tool which is used rather infrequently. This is a technique in which the first half of the line (the a-verse) is linked to the second half (the b-verse) through similarity in initial sound. In addition, the two halves are divided by a caesura: "Oft Scyld Scefing \\ sceaþena þreatum" (l. 4). This is a form of accentual verse, as opposed to our accentual-syllabic verse. There are four beats in every line – and two in every half-line.
The poet has a choice of epithets or formulae to use in order to fulfill the alliteration. When speaking or reading Old English poetry, it is important to remember for alliterative purposes that many of the letters are not pronounced the same way as they are in modern English. The letter "h", for example, is always pronounced (Hroðgar: HROTH-gar), and the digraph "cg" is pronounced like "dj", as in the word "edge". Both f and s vary in pronunciation depending on their phonetic environment. Between vowels or voiced consonants, they are voiced, sounding like modern v and z, respectively. Otherwise they are unvoiced, like modern f in "fat" and s in "sat". Some letters which are no longer found in modern English, such as thorn, þ, and eth, ð – representing both pronunciations of modern English "th", as in "cloth" and "clothe" – are used extensively both in the original manuscript and in modern English editions. The voicing of these characters echoes that of f and s. Both are voiced (as in "clothe") between other voiced sounds: oðer, laþleas, suþern. Otherwise they are unvoiced (as in "cloth"): þunor, suð, soþfæst.
Kennings are also a significant technique in Beowulf. They are evocative poetic descriptions of everyday things, often created to fill the alliterative requirements of the metre. For example, a poet might call the sea the "swan-road" or the "whale-road"; a king might be called a "ring-giver." There are many kennings in Beowulf, and the device is typical of much of classic poetry in Old English, which is heavily formulaic. The poem also makes extensive use of elided metaphors.[54]…...

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...Beowulf (/ˈbeɪ.ɵwʊlf/; in Old English [ˈbeːo̯wʊlf] or [ˈbeːəwʊlf]) is the conventional title[1] of an Old English epic[2] poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, possibly the oldest surviving long poem in Old English and thus commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature, and also arguably the earliest vernacular English literature.[3] The full poem survives in the manuscript known as the Nowell Codex, located in the British Library. Written in England, its composition by an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet[a] is dated between the 8th[5][6] and the early 11th century.[7] In 1731, the manuscript was badly damaged by a fire that swept through Ashburnham House in London that had a collection of medieval manuscripts assembled by Sir Robert Bruce Cotton. The poem's existence for its first seven centuries or so made no impression on writers and scholars, and besides a brief mention in a 1705 catalogue by Humfrey Wanley it was not studied until the end of the 18th century, and not published in its entirety until Johan Bülow funded the 1815 Latin translation, prepared by the Icelandic-Danish scholar Grímur Jónsson Thorkelin.[8] After a heated debate with Thorkelin, Bülow offered to support a new translation by N.F.S. Grundtvig — this time into Danish. The result, Bjovulfs Drape (1820), was the first modern language translation of Beowulf. In the poem, Beowulf, a hero of the Geats in Scandinavia, comes to the aid of Hroðgar,......

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Beowulf

... In the epic poem of Beowulf, there are many events where supernatural strength is used by not only Beowulf himself, but as well as Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and a few other characters throughout the poem. The story starts off with the battle with Grendel, and both Beowulf and Grendel have supernatural strength, and so does Grendel’s mother. Beowulf and Grendel are both larger than life and they are both strong, and they have supernatural strength. In this poem, Beowulf does what is best for his people. He defends them and he eventually becomes king and is praised very frequently for his heroic duties. That is mainly what makes Beowulf larger than life, or what some may call famous. He takes care of his people and in exchange they take care of him. Grendel is an enormous, creature that was a decedent of Kane and he had been holding Denmark hostage for 12 years before Beowulf arrived. years. His demeanor is what really made him an outsider and people didn’t accept him. Beowulf’s first battle was with Grendel. The twelve foot beast rudely interrupted a celebration in the Hall that King Hrothgar had built for his people to come and fellowship with each other. Grendel was well known for his terrorism in many different situations. Beowulf’s warriors couldn’t harm the beast because Grendel had put a curse against all weapons to harm him. That being, Beowulf ripped off Grendel’s arm which was the only way to defeat him. King Hrothgar was pleased that Beowulf had defeated Grendel......

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Beowulf

...Beowulf: Christian or pagan? The epic poem, Beowulf, which was composed about 850 CE, is a tale of a warrior named Beowulf. The plot of Beowulf primarily revolves around the expeditions and fights that Beowulf undertakes throughout his life. Regarding this poem, one of the essential controversies is whether it is a Christian or pagan poem. In the text, Beowulf is depicted as the one who values his own fame most and is hallowed highly by people due to his violence in battle. These characteristics of Beowulf seem to separate the poem from Christianity. Although the poem appears to be originally pagan, Beowulf is a Christian poem in terms of its historical background, biblical allusions, and the characters’ beliefs and reliance on God. First, the author of Beowulf lived in a period when the transformation from Germanic paganism to Christianity occurred. When Beowulf was written, the old paganism was dying out, and the influx of Christianity from Europe and Ireland had taken place. “This transformation reached every level of society and affected nearly every aspect of daily life” (Streissguth 83). Due to this Christian influence, people had to make a radical change, discarding the old beliefs that value courage, vengeance, and violence in gory battle. The poet of Beowulf was also a part of this drastic change of the era. The “nameless author undoubtedly was a Christian” (Bloom 1). We can observe the author’s Christian quality when he blames people who return to paganism in the......

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Beowulf

...was part of their code of behavior. Refusing to do so seems insane, because otherwise how would the killing ever stop?) • So Grendel pretty much takes over Heorot Hall, although God keeps him from approaching Hrothgar's throne. (That kind of thing happens when you're the descendant of Cain, apparently.) • Everyone wants to give King Hrothgar their two cents about how to get rid of Grendel. Some of them give advice about military strategy; others turn to idolatry and offer sacrifices to pagan gods. The narrator condemns their paganism and rejoices in the fact that he lives in a time where people know Christianity and can turn to "the Lord God, Head of the Heavens and High King of the World" (181-182) for help. (Confused about religion in Beowulf? Check out what we have to say about religion in the "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory" section.) • Despite all the good advice, Hrothgar and his followers can't defeat Grendel, and he keeps killing the Danes in the darkness of night. • Across the water from the Danes in Geatland (today part of Sweden), the mightiest warrior on earth, a follower of King Hygelac, decides that he will travel to the Spear-Danes and help King Hrothgar defeat Grendel. He orders that a boat be made ready. • Everyone knows better than to argue with this warrior or try to stop him. Instead, they help him get ready. They enlist fourteen other warriors to accompany him. • Loading their ship with weapons, the mysterious hero and his followers set sail. After a......

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Beowulf

...Lynn Wells Dr. Brandy Lowery ENGL2322 16 September 2015 Title “Beowulf” is the universal story of life’s journey from adolescence to adulthood and to old age. The hero grows in wisdom about himself and about the world through the pain and triumph of personal experience. In the mythical poem “Beuowulf” the audience is able to see how he grows in wisdom about himself and about the world with each monster he faces. Beowulf is a hero who battles three different monsters, Grendel, Grendel’s mother and the Dragon. Each monster he faces represents different meanings to him. In times of battle, Beowulf experience many hardships and victories. Grendel is a strong evil water-monster who went to Herot Hall and slaughtered many of Hrothgar’s men. When Beowulf is called to fight Grendel he depicts himself as a man with no fear. Beowulf knows that he is a young strong warrior and is the only one who has the strength to defeat this evil monster. He accepts the challenge and announces that he will fight barehanded which concludes that he is fully confident in himself. He announces, “I have also heard the thrust of a weapon no threat to his threws. Thus I foreswear my sword and strong shield. Instead I shall grab and grapple with Grendel, fighting for life with that fearsome foe” (Gardner 40-41). Beowulf proves his expertise to defeat Grendel by keeping Grendel’s arm. As described, “ As a token of triumph, the troop leader hung the shorn-off shoulder and arm by its hand: the grip of......

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Beowulf

...Ms. Beaudoin English IV Honors Scholars and critical readers have various opinions about the themes of Beowulf. Choose one statement to argue for or against a particular extent and in a well-developed, proofread paper support your choice with examples and quotations from the text of the epic. 1.) Beowulf presents an ideal of loyalty. The failure to live up to this ideal on the part of others points up the extraordinary faithfulness of Beowulf. 2.) Beowulf is a blending of Christian traditions with a folk story that praises loyalty, courage, and faith in the face of extreme danger and even death. It presents a model of a human being willing to die to deliver others from terrifying evil forces. 3.) Beowulf is the story of a dual ordeal—an external battle with vicious opponents and an internal battle with human tendencies of pride, greed, cowardice, betrayal, and self-concern. 4.) Beowulf is the universal story of life’s journey from adolescence to adulthood to old age. The hero grows in wisdom about self about the world through the pain and triumph of personal experience. Requirements: (1) 3 full pages. (2) Times New Roman 12 pt. font, double-spaced, proper MLA format. (3) Work Cited page (Note this is a translated excerpt from your textbook). (4) Submission of typed hard copy in class. (5) Upload to Turnitin.com by 7am on due date. (6) Write choice of topic number on back of hard copy. Penalties:......

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Beowulf

...the evolution of society. In the days of Beowulf and the Vikings, a hero was a man who was strong and courageous, willing and able to protect his tribe and provide for his people. But today, since our culture has vastly changed, so has the meaning of this word; now it is used for the brave and selfless people of the world. Though Beowulf may have acted in ways that were not so heroic, he should be recognized as a hero. Many people recognize Beowulf as the hero of Anglo-Saxon times. Beowulf was the first poem told in Anglo-Saxon England sometime between the 8th and 11th centuries, but it's not actually set in that time and place. It's actually set several hundred years earlier, in the 5th or 6th century. Beowulf does not take place in England, instead, the action happens in the land of the Danes what is known as the nation of Denmark and the land of the Geats which today is known as the nation of Sweden. The main action of the story is set around 500 a.d. Judging by Beowulf’s many feats and strengths, Beowulf’s heroism is not hard to believe. When Beowulf slays the monster Grendal in the classic tale," he was considered a great hero. The slaying of Grendel required courage, bravery, intelligence, perseverance, and mental and physical strength. Certain passages in the story support the opinion that Beowulf has all these qualities. However, in the epic, Beowulf explores the great lengths the character had to go through to succeed. Beowulf did anything in his power to prevail,......

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Beowulf

...Beowulf, heroic poem, the highest achievement of Old English literature and the earliest European vernacular epic. Preserved in a single manuscript (Cotton Vitellius A XV) from c. 1000, it deals with events of the early 6th century and is believed to have been composed between 700 and 750. It did not appear in print until 1815. Although originally untitled, it was later named after the Scandinavian hero Beowulf, whose exploits and character provide its connecting theme. There is no evidence of a historical Beowulf, but some characters, sites, and events in the poem can be historically verified. The poem falls into two parts. It opens in Denmark, where King Hrothgar’s splendid mead hall, Heorot, has been ravaged for 12 years by nightly visits from an evil monster, Grendel, who carries off Hrothgar’s warriors and devours them. Unexpectedly, young Beowulf, a prince of the Geats of southern Sweden, arrives with a small band of retainers and offers to cleanse Heorot of its monster. The King is astonished at the little-known hero’s daring but welcomes him, and after an evening of feasting, much courtesy, and some discourtesy, the King retires, leaving Beowulf in charge. During the night Grendel comes from the moors, tears open the heavy doors, and devours one of the sleeping Geats. He then grapples with Beowulf, whose powerful grip he cannot escape. He wrenches himself free, tearing off his arm, and leaves, mortally wounded. The next day is one of rejoicing in Heorot. But at......

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