Beowulf: Themes


The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is the most important work of Old English
literature, and is well deserved of the distinction. The epic tells the story
of a hero, a Scandinavian prince named Beowulf, who rids the Danes of the
monster Grendel, a descendent of Cain, and of his exploits fighting Grendel's
mother and a Dragon. Throughout the epic, the Anglo-Saxon story teller uses
many elements to build a certain depth to the characters. Just a few of the
important character elements in Beowulf are Wealth & Honor, Biblical &
Paganistic, and Man vs. Wild themes.
Many of the characters in Beowulf are, like in most epics, defined by
their status. But, in addition to status, the Anglo-Saxon ...

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his tendency to “In battle, [leave] the common pasture
untouched, and taking no lives.” Through this display of compassion for the
commoner who doesn't fight in battles, Hrothgar proves the full extent of his
honor and therefore the extent of his wealth and status. Beowulf, the hero-
prince, also proves his true wealth and status through his deeds as defender of
the Danes.. As he fights and defeats Grendel, Beowulf Earns Fame and wealth
from his companions, and from the Danes, but more importantly, he earns honor
raising him to the level of an archetypal hero. Grendel, on the other hand, is
the total opposite of Beowulf. He has no wealth, no honor, and he in infamous
as an evil killer. This lack of wealth and honor defines Grendel as a symbol of
evil and corruption. In addition to using Honor and wealth to define a
character's character, the story-teller(s) have incorporated alternating
Biblical and Paganistic motifs in the epic-poem.
The original Epic was obviously ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 3/17/2006 09:19:20 PM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1008
Pages: 4

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