Epic of Beowulf Essay - An Epic Poem
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Beowulf: An Epic Poem
To qualify as an epic poem, Beowulf reflects the values of the culture in which it was created. The Anglo-Saxon culture and the poem share many of the same values. They shared a heroic ideal that included loyalty, strength, courage, courtesy, and generosity. Like all epic poems Beowulf is a long narrative work that tells the adventures of a great hero and also reflects the values of the society in which it was written. Both Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxons believed in those qualities as an individual.
The strongest ties of loyalty in their society were to kin and lord. A kingdom was only as strong as its war-leader king. In order to have loyal men, the King needed to repay them. In other words the men…show more content…
They burnt and destroyed the monuments of Roman occupation and let the roads and cities fall into utter disrepair. As Gildas, a British monks, phrases it, "the red tongue of flame licked up the whole land form end to end, till it slaked its horrid thirst in the western ocean" (Allen, 47). Those characteristics are also seen in the epic poem of Beowulf. It is a story of savage pirates, clad in shirts of ring-armoire, and greedy of gold and ale. "The noblest leader is he who builds a great hall, throws up open for his people to carouse in, and liberally deals out beer, and bracelets, and money at the feast". Much of which they received from the king. When Beowulf first killed Grendel, there was a large feast in Hrothgar’s hall, Herot. There the queen served ale, and the king gave Beowulf and his men treasures. Fighting and drinking are the men’s’ two delights. The joy of battle is warm in their hearts. They are fearless and greedy and not ashamed of living by the strong hand alone. These men were always loyal to their king in the time of need because they were rewarded in the end (Allen, 16).
Beowulf was a member of the Geat tribe who is described by the poet as "greater/And stronger than anyone anywhere in this world" (Beowulf,** 195-196).Beowulf is bringing fourteen of his strongest men across the sea to aid Hrothgar. Hrothgar did not ask for help from Beowulf or anyone else, but this warrior takes it upon himself to
Show MoreBeowulf - A Literary Epic
There are ten basic elements that help to classify a poem as an epic. Although Beowulf does not contain all of these elements, it has enough of them to still identify it as an epic.
There are ten characteristics of an epic: the central character has heroic or superhuman qualities, the action takes place on an immense scale, the action involves the fate of an entire population or the whole human race, gods or semi-divine creatures aid one side or the other, the author announces his theme in opening, a character calls on the muses to help him, the poem begins "in media res," the style of poem is often noble and majestic, the characters speak in long set speeches, in some cases there is literary…show more content…
An epic contains action at an immense level. Throughout the book there were battles between men and horrendous beasts. Each of Beowulf's battles contained exciting elements that enhanced the action. In his battle with Grendel, Beowulf fought with neither weapon nor human help. When challenging Grendel's mother, her immense strength and the fact that Beowulf was hours below the surface of the water hindered his fighting ability. In his final battle, Beowulf was up against one of the most feared beasts of all time, the dragon. With its ability to use poison and fire, it was an opponent that was not easily overcome.
Often, epics involve the fate of the country's population, or sometimes even the whole human race. In the many wars throughout the book, opposing nations slaughtered entire populations. For nearly twelve years, Grendel raided Herot, killing the Danes remaining after the day's festivities. Because of these raids, all of Denmark feared the beast. In the battle with Grendel, all of Beowulf's soldiers were in danger of being killed had their great leader not killed Grendel. If Beowulf had not slain Grendel's mother so quickly after her discovery, she may have killed more Danes than her weaker son. The Fire Dragon terrorized Beowulf's kingdom, burning homes, churches and other town buildings. When Beowulf and Wiglaf