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Introduction – who is Beowulf

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“Beowulf” is a heroic epic poem written by one unknown author in Old English, some time between the 8th and the 10th Century CE. It is just one of the most necessary works of Anglo-Saxon literature, and has to be the topic of much scholarly study, theory, speculation and discourse. It speak the story the the hero Beowulf, and his battles versus the monster Grendel (and Grendel’s mother), and versus an unnamed dragon.

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Synopsis – beo wolf Summary

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The poem begins through a history of the Danish kings, starting with Shild (whose funeral is described in the Prologue) and leading approximately the power of the existing king Hrothgar, Shild’s great-grandson. Hrothgar is well loved by his people and also successful in war. He build a lavish hall, called Herot (or Heorot), to residence his large army, and also when the room is finished the Danish soldiers gather under the roof to celebrate.

However, provoked by the singing and also carousing that Hrothgar’s followers, Grendel, a monster in human shape who resides at the bottom of a surrounding swamp, appears at the hall late one night and also kills thirty that the warrior in your sleep. Because that the following twelve year the fear of Grendel‘s potential fury casts a shadow end the lives of the Danes. Hrothgar and his advisers have the right to think the nothing to appease the monster’s anger.

Beowulf, prince the the Geats, hears around Hrothgar’s troubles, and also gathers fourteen of his bravest warriors, and also sets sail native his residence in southerly Sweden. The Geats are greeted by the members the Hrothgar’s court, and also Beowulf boasts to the king of his ahead successes together a warrior, specifically his success in fighting sea monsters. Hrothgar welcomes the arrival of the Geats, hoping the Beowulf will certainly live as much as his reputation. During the banquet that complies with Beowulf‘s arrival, Unferth, a Danish soldier, voices his doubts around Beowulf‘s past accomplishments, and also Beowulf, in turn, accuses Unferth of killing his brothers. Prior to retiring because that the night, Hrothgar promises Beowulf great treasures if that meets v success against the monster.


That night, Grendel shows up at Herot, and Beowulf, true to his word, rings the monster bare-handed. He tears off the monster’s arm at the shoulder, but Grendel escapes, just to die shortly afterward in ~ the bottom of the snake-infested swamp where he and his mother live. The Danish warriors, who had fled the hall in fear, return singing songs in worship of Beowulf‘s triumph and also performing heroic story in Beowulf‘s honour. Hrothgar rewards Beowulf v a an excellent store of treasures and, after an additional banquet, the warrior of both the Geats and also the to dance retire for the night.

Unknown to the warriors, however, Grendel‘s mom is plot revenge for she son’s death. She come at the hall when all the warriors are sleeping and carries turn off Esher, Hrothgar’s chief adviser. Beowulf, rising to the occasion, offers to dive to the bottom of the lake, uncover the monster’s dwelling place, and destroy her. He and his males follow the monster’s monitor to the cliff overlooking the lake whereby Grendel‘s mother lives, wherein they check out Esher’s bloody head floating on the surface of the lake. Beo wolf prepares for battle and also asks Hrothgar come look after his warriors and to send his prizes to his uncle, King Higlac, if the does no return safely.

During the ensuing battle, Grendel‘s mom carries Beowulf under to she underwater home, yet Beowulf ultimately kills the monster through a magical knife that he finds on the wall surface of her home. He additionally finds Grendel‘s dead body, cut off the head, and returns to dried land. The Geat and also Danish warriors, waiting expectantly, celebrate together Beowulf has actually now purged Denmark of the gyeongju of angry monsters.

They go back to Hrothgar’s court, where the Danish king is duly thankful, yet warns Beowulf against the threats of pride and also the fleeting nature the fame and power. The Danes and Geats prepare a good feast in celebration event of the death of the monsters and the following morning the Geats hurry to your boat, worried to start the trip home. Beo wolf bids farewell come Hrothgar and tells the old king that if the Danes ever again need help he will certainly gladly concerned their assistance. Hrothgar presents beowulf with more treasures and they embrace, emotionally, favor father and son.

Beowulf and the Geats sail house and, ~ recounting the story the his battles v Grendel and also Grendel‘s mother, beo wolf tells the Geat king Higlac about the feud in between Denmark and their enemies, the Hathobards. He describes the proposed peace settlement, in i m sorry Hrothgar will give his daughter Freaw to Ingeld, king that the Hathobards, however predicts the the tranquility will not last long. Higlac rewards beowulf for his bravery v parcels the land, swords and houses.

In the second part of the poem, set many year later, Higlac is dead, and Beowulf has actually been king that the Geats for part fifty years. One day, a theif steals a jewelled cup indigenous a resting dragon, and also the dragon avenges his ns by flying v the night burning under houses, including Beowulf‘s own hall and throne. Beo wolf goes come the cavern where the dragon lives, vowing to damage it single-handed. He is one old guy now, however, and his toughness is no as great as that was when he fought versus Grendel. During the battle, Beowulf breaks his sword versus the dragon’s side and the dragon, enraged, engulfs beowulf in flames, wounding that in the neck.

All of Beowulf‘s pendant flee except Wiglaf, that rushes with the flames to assist the aging warrior. Wiglaf stabs the dragon through his sword, and Beowulf, in a final act the courage, cut the dragon in half with his knife.

However, the damages is done, and Beowulf realizes the he is dying, and also that he has fought his last battle. He asks Wiglaf to take it him to the dragon’s storehouse that treasures, jewels and gold, which bring him part comfort and also make the feel that the initiative has possibly been worthwhile. The instructs Wiglaf to construct a dig to be well-known as “Beowulf‘s tower” on the leaf of the sea there.

After beo wolf dies, Wiglaf admonishes the troops who deserted their leader when he to be fighting versus the dragon, informing them that they have been untrue to the requirements of bravery, courage and loyalty that Beowulf has taught. Wiglaf sends a messenger come a adjacent encampment that Geat soldiers through instructions to report the result of the battle. The messenger predicts the the enemies of the Geats will feel complimentary to attack them currently that their good king is dead.

Wiglaf supervises the structure of Beowulf’s funeral pyre. In keeping with Beowulf‘s instructions, the dragon’s treasure is hidden alongside his ashes in the tomb, and also the city ends as it began, through the funeral of a great warrior.


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“Beowulf” is the oldest well-known epic poem composed in English, back its date is not known with any type of certainty (the finest estimate being 8th Century CE, and also definitely before the early on 11th century CE). The writer is similarly unknown, and represents a question that has mystified readers for centuries. That is typically thought that the city was perform orally by memory by the poet or through a “scop” (a travelling entertainer), and was passed under in this means passed down to readers and also listeners, or the it was lastly written down at the request of a king who wanted to hear it again.

Because of the unified framework of the poem, through its interweaving of historical information into the circulation of the key narrative, the city was most likely composed by one person, back there space two distinct parts to the poem and some scholars think that the part which take location in Denmark and the part which take it place earlier in Beowulf’s landscape were composed by different authors.

It is written in a language known as Old English (also described as Anglo-Saxon), a language that had become the language of its time by around the early part of the sixth Century CE, in the wake of the occupation of the Romans and the boosting influence the Christianity. Old English is a heavily accented language, so different from contemporary English regarding appear nearly unrecognizable, and its city is recognized for its emphasis on alliteration and rhythm. Every line that “Beowulf” is divided into two unique half-lines (each containing at least four syllables), be separate by a pause and also related through the repeat of sounds. Nearly no currently in Old English poetry end in rhymes in the conventional sense, however the alliterative quality of the verse provides the city its music and also rhythm.

The poet likewise makes usage of a stylistic maker called “kenning”, a method of specify name a person or point by making use of a phrase that signified a top quality of that human being or thing (e.g. A warrior could be described as “the helmet-bearing one”). Another characteristic the the poet’s layout is his usage of litotes, a kind of understatement, regularly with an unfavorable overtones, i beg your pardon is plan to produce a feeling of irony.

Most frequently the personalities just supply speeches come one another, and there space no actual conversations together such. However, the story is retained moving easily by leaping indigenous one event to another. Over there is some usage of historical digressions, similar to the use of flashbacks in contemporary movies and also novels, and this interweaving of events of the present and the previous is a significant structural device. The poet additionally sometimes shifts the point of see in the middle of an activity in bespeak to offer multiple perspectives (for example, to display the reaction of the warrior who are looking on together an audience in practically every battle).

“Beowulf” is component of the heritage of epos poetry that began with the poems that Homer and also Virgil, and it faces the affairs and deeds that brave men, but, choose its timeless models, it makes no effort to portray a entirety life chronologically from start to end. It likewise functions together a type of history, blending past, present, and future in a unique, all-encompassing way. It is not simply a straightforward tale around a guy who kills monsters and dragons, yet rather a large vision of human being history.

As in the earlier classical epic poems that Greece and also Rome, the personalities are normally presented in reality fashion, but additionally from time to time together the poet considers they need to be. Occasionally, the poet breaks his objective tone to offer a moral judgment on among his characters, although because that the most component he lets the actions of the characters speak for themselves. As in the timeless tradition of epic poetry, the poem is came to with person values and moral choices: the personalities are qualified of performing plot of great courage, however conversely castle are likewise capable of suffering intensely for your deeds.

The poet attempts to some extent to convey the “human” and the “heroic” political parties of Beowulf’s personality. Although that is described as greater and stronger than anyone anywhere in the world, and plainly commands instant respect and also attention, he is likewise portrayed as courteous, patient and diplomatic in his manner, and lacks the brusqueness and coldness the a superior and also hubristic hero. That boasts come Hrothgar that his bravery, however does so largely as a practical way of acquiring what the wants.

Although Beowulf may act selflessly, administer by a code of ethics and an intuitive understanding of other people, a component of that nevertheless has actually no actual idea the why the acts the way he does, and also this is probably the tragic flaw in his character. Certainly, fame, glory and also wealth are likewise among his motivations, as well as practical considerations such together a desire to salary his father’s debt. He seems to have no great desire to come to be king of the Geats and, when very first offered the throne, he refuses, preferring to play the role of warrior-son. Likewise, the never appears quite details whether his success together a warrior is as result of his own strength or to God’s help, indicating some spiritual conflicts which advanced him above the level the a mere stock hero figure.

The Danish king Hrothgar is probably the most human character in the poem, and also the human being with whom it may be most basic for united state to identify. He shows up wise, but likewise lacking the courage supposed of a good warrior-king, and also age has clearly robbed the of the power to action decisively. After Beowulf has killed Grendel‘s mother, Hrothgar takes beowulf to one side in a really concerned and also fatherly manner and also advises him come guard against wickedness and the evils of pride, and to use his powers for the betterment of other people. Once Beowulf is departing indigenous Denmark, Hrothgar reflects that he is no afraid to display his emotions together he embraces and also kisses the young warrior and bursts into tears. The old king’s modest show of vanity in structure the huge hall, Herot, as a irreversible monument to his achievments is perhaps his only real flaw, and it might be argued that this display screen of pride or vanity is what attracted Grendel’s fist in the very first place and collection the totality tragedy in motion.

The personality of Wiglaf in the second part of the poem, back a relatively minor character, is nevertheless crucial to the all at once structure that the poem. He to represent the young warrior who helps the aging King beo wolf in his battle against the dragon in the second component of the poem, in much the same method as the younger Beowulf aided King Hrothgar in the very first part. He is a perfect example of the idea that “comitatus”, the commitment of the warrior come his leader, and, while every his other warriors flee the dragon in fear, Wiglaf alone involves the aid of his king. Like the young Beowulf, that is also a version of self-control, established to action in a way that he believes to it is in right.

The monster Grendel is an extreme example the evil and corruption, own no human feelings other than hatred and bitterness toward mankind. However, unlike human beings, who can contain aspects of great and evil, there seem to it is in no method that Grendel can ever be converted to goodness. As much as he stands for a price of evil, Grendel additionally represents disorder and chaos, a projection of all that was many frightening come the Anglo-Saxon mind.

The main theme the the poem is the conflict between great and evil, many obviously exemplified through the physical conflict between Beowulf and Grendel. However, great and evil are additionally presented in the poem not as mutually exclusive opposites, yet as twin qualities existing in everyone. The poem likewise makes clean our require for a code of ethics, which permits members of society to relate come one an additional with understanding and trust.

Another template is that of youth and also age. In the first part, we see Beowulf as the young, daring prince, in contrast with Hrothgar, the wise but aging king. In the second part, Beowulf, the aging but still heroic warrior, is contrasted through his young follower, Wiglaf.

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In some ways, “Beowulf” to represent a link between 2 traditions, the old pagan traditions (exemplified by the virtues of courage in war and also the acceptance of feuds in between men and countries together a fact of life) and the new traditions of the Christian religion. The poet, probably himself a Christian, makes it clear the idol worshipping is a definite risk to Christianity, although he chooses to do no discuss Beowulf’s pagan interment rites. The personality of beo wolf himself is not particularly concerned with Christian virtues favor meekness and poverty and, although he plainly wants to assist people, in a Christian type of way, his an ideas for doing therefore is complicated. Hrothgar is possibly the personality who least fits into the old pagan tradition, and some readers check out him together modelled after an “Old Testament” biblical king.