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Literary Analysis (Beowulf)
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Elements of literature [Gr. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Austin "Moments in Time: The Anglo-Saxon Epic Heroes. Originally Posted by mickailag3. The only thing that's missing here is merit. Ancient Anglo-Saxon leaders did not inheret their leadership. They always had to lead in front of their men or let someone else do it. Originally Posted by PeterL. I hope it doesn't disappoint you too much, but Beowulf was not an Anglo-Saxon.

He was a Geat, someone from Gautar, which was a smaller kingdom between Denmark and Sweden. And when I saw my devil, I found him serious, thorough, profound, solemn: Not by wrath, but by laughter, do we slay. Come, let us slay the spirit of gravity!

Before examining whether Beowulf is an Anglo-Saxon adventure and whether Beowulf is the only hero in the saga, we have to take into account a few historical facts concerning this epic poem. The first thing that concern us is the question, when was Beowulf actually written. The oral epic poem Beowolf has been in this world for more than Twelve centuries. In lines 32 to 39 there is reference to a sunken and rotting treasure ship at Sutton Hoo which is believed to be the burial ship of some rich unknown king of the Seventh century A.

Ship-graves were common in those times. At the beginning of the poem there is mention of King Shild being given a ship-burial by his grieving citizens who watches the ship 'slowly sliding to where neither heroes nor rulers nor anyone can say whose hands opened up to take that motionless cargo' into the depths of the sea. Assuming that this reference to the Sutton Hoo burial ship is credible, it can be said that the poem Beowulf was written somewhere around the Eighth century A.

Who the author or authors of this great epic was or were is still unknown. And only one handwritten copy of the book has survived, which is displayed in the British Museum. The ship-grave at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, England, by then covered with a mound of earth, was excavated in and the treasures from this royal burial ship also have been displayed in the British Museum.

It is a saga of the wars of the Swedes against the Danes. Someone after an adventurous sea travel brought this story kept in his memory to the Angles Land where it was later cast in the poetic form in the Old English.

Thus Sweden, Denmark and England are considered to have played a role in the English epic poem Beowulf. In the Angles Land which is the present day England, after generations, it was written down in the word form, the author's name being lost in King Henry VIIIth's atrocities in monasteries. There are doubts among historians and critics as to whether Beowulf is a Christian song. It was written in English in the Sixth century when Christianity had not properly come to England.

But the only remaining manuscript was recovered and came from a Christian monastery during the Eighteenth century. It is a real story of blood baths though several referring to lofty religious ideals also are made. In this sense, it can be said to be a story of the Pagan beliefs.

Though these two religions can not be said to be in contrast in this poem, there are slight references to Christianity and a strong basement of Pagan beliefs. Because Beowulf originated not in English but was translated into it, it is noted that there have been many problems that had to be experienced during its translation to the English language. Beowulf, created by the unknown author before the Sixth century consists of lines, formulated at a time when there were no books and paper but were read loudly before great audiences.

It was constructed not to be read with eyes, but to be sung loudly in public. Its creator was first trained as a traditional singer. It survived as an oral epic, handed over through generations orally. In those times, poetry creators were extremely skilled in constructing very long instant poems before audiences.

Therefore they often did not have a concrete continuous story. Several adventures of kings and soldiers were clubbed together to form an epic.

Moreover there would happen many editing and eliminations during these mouth to mouth transfer through generations. All these are impediments to even a skilled translator. Added to this is the fact that only one copy of the ancient manuscript survived raid and fire, which is kept in the British Museum.

But the chief problem of translating the epic Beowulf is the ancient text being so complex and so imperfectly understood that only translations roughly equivalent in the modern English language have been possible till now. As any diligent reader and appreciator of the poem can note, the most majestic scene depicted in the poem is not any scene of bravery or war but a send-off scene painted in eloquent words in the prologue, the real message from the ancient people, meant to be delivered to the coming generations, the philosophy of our forefathers condensed into a scene.

An abandoned child Shilde travelled alone to Denmark. We can surely call him Shield which is apt. He was blessed with courage, chance, luck and bravery. Before his coming, the Danes had lived kingless and miserable. He became a great king of the Danes. His soldiers sailed to distant lands beyond the seas and brought back slaves, riches and wealth to Denmark. He ruled long and gave birth to Beowulf, the future king of the Danes. Now comes the custom of ship-burial in the old world.

When Shilde died of old age, his comrades carried him to the harbour where a fighting ship awaited him. They laid him near the mast and next to him heaped up treasures, jewelled helmets, swords, coats of mail and armour, all brought in victory from all parts of the world. Then they forced the treasure ship adrift, floating to far distances. He was to cross the waves alone, an orphan and a beggar. After a while, the water pulled at the ship and it slid to the bottom of the sea, where neither rulers nor heroes nor anyone else can say whose hands opened up to take that motionless cargo.

One can argue that this structure relates to the theme of the epic in that each monster presents a specific moral challenge against which the Anglo-Saxon heroic code can be measured and tested. Though he recognizes that his time has come and that he will thus not survive his clash with the dragon, he bravely embraces his duty to protect his people, sacrificing his life to save them.

Along these lines, the gap of fifty years between the first two conflicts and the last marks the dividing line. One of the main thematic points highlighted by such a division is the difference in responsibilities of the warrior and of the king. As a young warrior, Beowulf is free to travel afar to protect others, but as an old king, he must commit himself to guard his own people.

Additionally, whereas Beowulf focuses on the heroic life early on, seeking to make a name for himself, he must focus on fate and the maintenance of his reputation late in life. Beowulf is set in a male-dominated world full of violence and danger.

What role does patriarchal history play in this world? Why does it matter to the warriors who their ancestors were? By placing such an emphasis on who their fathers were and how their fathers acted, the men of Beowulf bind themselves to a cycle of necessity governed by the heroic code.

In this way, patriarchal history works to concretize and strengthen the warrior code in a world full of uncertainty and fear. One might contrast this socially accepted version of patriarchal history with the various alternative models that the poem presents.

Grendel, for example, descends from Cain, the biblical icon of familial disloyalty, and the avenging of his death is undertaken by a female relative rather than a male one. Examples of family discontinuity abound as well.

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Beowulf essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Beowulf.

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Writing an analytical essay on Beowulf is a matter of knowing some secrets about these kind of texts. You must first read the poem and make sure you have a significant knowledge about it. After that, you should set the main purpose of your paper. There are two main analytical essays you can write on Beowulf.

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Beowulf is an amazing story that teaches us courage, it shows us characters such as Beowulf himself that are true to his word and self-confident, and it also shows us symbols that give an image of God and the hope that he brings to the people that believe in his word. - A Jungian Reading of Beowulf The epic poem, Beowulf, depicts the battles and victories of the Anglo-Saxon warrior Beowulf, over man-eating monsters. The noble defender, Beowulf, constantly fought monsters and beasts to rid the land of evil.

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Beowulf Essay. Beowulf Essay Beowulf, one of the oldest surviving epic poems of Anglo-Saxon literature, is a heroic adventure of a great Scandinavian warrior battling dragons and ogres. Beowulf is a very memorable story because it makes use of exemplary examples of literary elements. Beowulf Critical Essays. Following the topics are outlines you can use as a starting point for writing an analytical paper. Topic #1 Beowulf, in his quest for glory, is reminiscent of a.