Beowulf Essay Introduction Essay
Beowulf Essay Introduction
No one from Anglo-Saxon epos survived to our days has received such widespread recognition as “Beowulf”. This poem is the only major work of heroic epic, preserved entirely. Apparently, the song was born in a military circle, because the main place is reserved for battles, soldiers, and feasts. A description of other aspects of the life of Anglo-Saxon society is absent.
A composition arose on the basis of ancient Germanic traditions related to pagan times. They appeared among local tribes long before the Anglo-Saxon resettlement on the territory of Britain. Events in the poetry take place on the shores of the Baltic Sea while its plot is borrowed from German mythology.
The work includes two parts and tells about exploits of the brave Geat Knight Beowulf, who rescued Denmark from a terrible sea monster Grendel. For the past twelve years, Heort has been attacked by this beast. To help King Hrothgar, with fourteen soldiers, the protagonist floats. Generously awarded Beowulf returns to his homeland and tells King Hegelac about everything that happened to him.
The latter gives him the land, and when his son Heardred dies in a battle with the Swedes, Beowulf becomes a king of the Geats. The second part of narrative depicts how, after fifty years of prosperous reign, Beowulf enters the battle with a fire-breathing dragon descended his possessions. He gets a mortal wound and dies, appointing his successor.
In its composition, the poem is a complex phenomenon. The motifs of legends are combined with elements indicative of their later processing in the spirit of the Christian religion. From the text of a story, names of pagan gods disappeared, but biblical ones are mentioned. Thus, Grendel is called a descendant of Cain, sea monsters are hell spawns. The work repeatedly points to an intervention of God in the ongoing events.
Poem’s spirit is in clear contradiction with later stratifications and insertions. A satirical fantasy reflects a mythological interpretation of history and relationship of tribes during the early Middle Ages. People are shown in their encounter with formidable forces of nature, represented in the images of a stormy sea, sea monsters, or a fire-breathing dragon. Piety and God-fearing are not dominant qualities of our hero. He does not have asceticism. In his character, there is the fullness of a primitive but integral personality. Such personage embodies features that give an idea about an ideal medieval warrior.
The construction of the work is complicated by the fact that the story of Beowulf’s life and deeds is not always given in a certain sequence. Much of what is told about the main character is retrospective. Some episodes contain information about Germanic tribes and include details from the history of royal families of Geats, Danes, Swedes, and continental Angles.
Poetic speech as a rhythmic structure of the composition is original. Widely used is the reception of parallelism, characteristic of epic monuments. Multiple repetitions of the same motif accent certain episodes of a plot and deepen their inner meaning. This refers to the topic of generic revenge. Thus, a thought is stressed that revenge for the deceased kin is a warrior’s duty.
Thus, based on the poem “Beowulf”, you can get information about English soldiers of this era. However, a song covers only those traits that, in the public opinion of that community, a perfect warrior-ruler should have had. A work may be of interest to people involved in clarifying and studying ancient customs, for instance, there is a mention of a burial ceremony, etc. Through the eyes of a contemporary one could see an outlook of our ancestors.
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