In Beowulf, the main character, a Geat warrior named Beowulf, possesses extraordinary qualities: “He was the strongest of men alive in that day, mighty and noble.” Upon spotting Beowulf approaching, the sea-guard of the Danes says, “Never have I seen a greater man on earth…” King Hrothgar of the Danes says of Beowulf, “Seafarers who took gifts to the Geats say that he has the strength of 30 men in his ha...
According to page 23 of the “Beowulf” introduction, “a relationship based less on subordination of one man’s will to another than on mutual trust and respect.” The second and third characteristics are strength and courage.
In the case of the epic poem, Beowulf, this is also true.
The roles of the women in Beowulf and other Anglo-Saxon poems are not always stereotyped ones of passive homemaker and childbearer and peaceweaver, but sometimes ones giving freedom of choice, range of activity, and room for personal growth and development.
Read expert analysis on foreshadowing in Beowulf ..
In the novel Beowulf the epic hero Beowulf shows characteristics of courage, physical strength, loyalty, self-confidence, and wisdom, much like heroes today.
A Textual Analysis of Beowulf: The Fight with Grendel's …
The poem follows his journey through life and specifically his defeat of the three antagonists: Grendel, Grendel’s mother and the dragon, who brings about Beowulf’s downfall.
Literary Analysis Essay For Beowulf
There are 3 major battles within Seamus Heaney's edition of the epic poem Beowulf all of which earn Beowulf some heroic status for saving the town from the evil antagonists that lurk, but is there a deeper meaning behind these battles than just an old tale.
SparkNotes: Beowulf: Character List
In line 1557, Beowulf comes across a magnificent weapon,a sword too heavy for any regular man to lift and use. It is described as a sword made by the giants (1558). The origin of the blade is unclear and there is no explanation offered as to why it is in the monster's lair. What is revealed in lines 1685 to 1694 is that the hilt, now presented to Hrothgar by Beowulf as a gift is covered with engravings that tell the story of the destruction of giants (presumably the Nephilim) at the hands of God through the great flood. It is with this blade that Beowulf successfully kills Grendel's mother, severing her head. Is it simply the blade's great size that makes the deed possible? Is it that the blade is imbued with magic powers? Perhaps the answer is not to be found in the blade but rather, in the hilt. Since the hilt is engraved with a scene depicting God's judment upon the evil race of giants, perhaps it may be assumed that the sword itself represents just that. Hrunting is a fine sword by any human standard. But it does not possess the divine light of God's blessing upon it, which this sword does. The "victory-bright blade (1557)" then is the only object truly capable of vanquishing otherworldly evil as Grendel's mother. Man's devices ultimately fall short. Line 1570 describes the "shining light of God's candle" filling the cave, a sign that God approves of the slayings. However, shortly after, Beowulf comes upon Grendel's corpse, beheads it, and takes the monster's head back as a prize. One might ask why Beowulf descends to such brutality. We are given clues much later on as to the possible character of Beowulf once he presents his spoils to Hrothgar - the severed head, and the remaining hilt. The sword blade melts apparently after severing Grendel's head. If it is assumed that the divine blade represents God's holiness and justice, and the blood of Grendel and his mother represents the very essence of evil, or sin, the melting of the blade may signify that those two elements, holiness and sin will not suffer each other's company. And so, the blade, slick with the monster's blood ceases to be. To take it a step further, one might say that the blade symbolizes Christ, who sacrfices himself, and after vanquishing sin and death soon leaves the mortal world and returns to God. One wonders however if this can't be interpreted another way. Perhaps the sword melts because God's blessing leaves it, because Beowulf descends on the monster's corpse and takes the head out of vengeance for Æschere (this is the second beheading in a row for Beowulf as he kills Grendel's mother in similar fashion) and claims it as a prize. For the glory of Hrothgar's house? Surely not. The head becomes merely an instrument, a prop with which tales of Beowulf's greatness might be told. And furthermore, perhaps Hrothgar senses the warrior's flaw ahead of time, and upon examining the other prize, the golden sword hilt, is moved to admonish Beowulf of the dangers of forgetting that God is the God of all and that all glory belongs to Him alone.
Beowulf: A Summary in English Prose
It is a poem that follows Beowulf through his life as he comes to the aid of the king of Danes and at a relatively young age slays a couple of dragons....