So, to begin, a brief synopsis.
See Article History Beowulf, heroic poem, the highest achievement of Old English literature and the earliest European vernacular epic. It deals with events of the early 6th century and is believed to have been composed between and 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 did not appear in print until 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. 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. In the morning Beowulf seeks her out in her cave at the bottom of a mere and kills her.
The Danes rejoice once more. Hrothgar makes a farewell speech about the character of the true hero, as Beowulf, enriched with honours and princely gifts, returns home to King Hygelac of the Geats.
But now a fire-breathing dragon ravages his land and the doughty but aging Beowulf engages it. The fight is long and terrible and a painful contrast to the battles of his youth. Painful, too, is the desertion of his retainers except for his young kinsman Wiglaf.
Beowulf kills the dragon but is mortally wounded. The poem ends with his funeral rites and a lament. Beowulf belongs metrically, stylistically, and thematically to a heroic tradition grounded in Germanic religion and mythology. It is also part of the broader tradition of heroic poetry.
The ethical values are manifestly the Germanic code of loyalty to chief and tribe and vengeance to enemies. Yet the poem is so infused with a Christian spirit that it lacks the grim fatality of many of the Eddaic lays or the sagas of Icelandic literature.
Beowulf himself seems more altruistic than other Germanic heroes or the ancient Greek heroes of the Iliad.
It is significant that his three battles are not against men, which would entail the retaliation of the blood feudbut against evil monsters, enemies of the whole community and of civilization itself.
Many critics have seen the poem as a Christian allegorywith Beowulf the champion of goodness and light against the forces of evil and darkness. That is not to say that Beowulf is an optimistic poem. The English critic J. Tolkien suggests that its total effect is more like a long, lyrical elegy than an epic.
Even the earlier, happier section in Denmark is filled with ominous allusions that were well understood by contemporary audiences. In the second part the movement is slow and funereal: Beowulf has often been translated into modern English; renderings by Seamus Heaney and Tolkien completed ; published became best sellers.
Learn More in these related Britannica articles:Analysis. It is often said that Beowulf begins and ends with a funeral, and that is very nearly the case. The narrator sets the heroic tone and introduces the setting through the founding character of Scyld Scefing; his most detailed early description is saved for Scyld's parting after death.
Comparative Paper: Beowulf and Batman. A superhero is a fictional character who is noted for feats of courage and nobility, who usually has a colorful name and costume, a mastery of relevant skills, advanced equipment and/or extraordinary powers and abilities beyond those of normal human beings.
Compare Batman to Beowulf Essay Sample. Riveting tales of fortune, valor, and heroism he kind of tale where this larger then life characters go off on epic adventures in search of honor and treasure and also fight some amazing foes along the way.
But Tolkien's expertise on Beowulf and his own literary powers give us every reason to take it seriously.
Beowulf is the oldest-surviving epic poem in English, albeit a form of English few can. Heroism in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Night A hero, according to Webster’s New World Dictionary, is someone who commits an act of remarkable bravery or who has shown great courage, strength of character, or another admirable quality.
Nov 09, · Hamlet vs Beowulf Comparison Essay Hamlet, the prince of sighs, and Beowulf, the great hero of the Geats and slayer of Grendell are two classic heroes from Britain only separated by a millennium in their creation.