An analysis of the violence in the anglo saxon epic beowulf

Violence in Beowulf

It was composed in England not in Scandinavia and is historical in its perspective, recording the values and culture of a bygone era. The claw trophy hangs high under the roof of Heorot. After more celebration and gifts and a sermon by Hrothgar warning of the dangers of pride and the mutability of time, Beowulf and his men return to Geatland.

The anxiety about succession focuses attention on the ties between generations. The element of religious tension is quite common in Christian Anglo-Saxon writings The Dream of the Rood, for examplebut the combination of a pagan story with a Christian narrator is fairly unusual.

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.

Though still an old pagan story, Beowulf thus came to be told by a Christian poet. The Beowulf that we read today is therefore probably quite unlike the Beowulf with which the first Anglo-Saxon audiences were familiar.

One might contrast this socially accepted version of patriarchal history with the various alternative models that the poem presents. Fortunately, most students encountering Beowulf read it in a form translated into modern English.

The others flee to the woods. Elements of the Beowulf story—including its setting and characters—date back to the period before the migration.

This tension leads to frequent asides about God, hell, and heaven—and to many allusions to the Old Testament throughout the work. 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.

It is said that they lie there still. Both Hrothgar and Hygelac depend on the loyalty of others if their sons are to inherit their respective kingships. The world that Beowulf depicts and the heroic code of honor that defines much of the story is a relic of pre—Anglo-Saxon culture.

For instance, Shield Sheafson is an orphan, and the Last Survivor represents the end of an entire race. Table of Contents Context Though it is often viewed both as the archetypal Anglo-Saxon literary work and as a cornerstone of modern literature, Beowulf has a peculiar history that complicates both its historical and its canonical position in English literature.

Beowulf responds with dignity while putting Unferth in his place. Old English Poetry Beowulf is often referred to as the first important work of literature in English, even though it was written in Old English, an ancient form of the language that slowly evolved into the English now spoken.

The Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian peoples had invaded the island of Britain and settled there several hundred years earlier, bringing with them several closely related Germanic languages that would evolve into Old English. In fact, the two swimmers were separated by a storm on the fifth night of the contest, and Beowulf had slain nine sea monsters before finally returning to shore.

Beowulf insists on taking on the dragon alone, but his own sword, Naegling, is no match for the monster. The magic sword melts to its hilt. Grendel rules the mead-hall nightly.

As a result, the Beowulf poet is at pains to resolve his Christian beliefs with the often quite un-Christian behavior of his characters. There he serves his king well until Hygelac is killed in battle and his son dies in a feud.

By the time the story of Beowulf was composed by an unknown Anglo-Saxon poet around a.

The people live in constant fear of attack and grisly death. Lade, letton, leoht, and eastan are the four stressed words. Each line of Old English poetry is divided into two halves, separated by a caesura, or pause, and is often represented by a gap on the page, as the following example demonstrates: Although these mead-halls offered sanctuary, the early Middle Ages were a dangerous time, and the paranoid sense of foreboding and doom that runs throughout Beowulf evidences the constant fear of invasion that plagued Scandinavian society.

Grendel is a descendant of Cain, who was banished by god to live a lonely, miserable life. Dying, Beowulf leaves his kingdom to Wiglaf and requests that his body be cremated in a funeral pyre and buried high on a seaside cliff where passing sailors might see the barrow.

The actions of the monsters in this story are motivated by negative emotions: In the Scandinavian world of the story, tiny tribes of people rally around strong kings, who protect their people from danger—especially from confrontations with other tribes.

In this way, patriarchal history works to concretize and strengthen the warrior code in a world full of uncertainty and fear. While the Danes retire to safer sleeping quarters, Beowulf and the Geats bed down in Heorot, fully aware that Grendel will visit them.

The Beowulf story has its roots in a pagan Saxon past, but by the time the epic was written down, almost all Anglo-Saxons had converted to Christianity.

Though his death in the encounter with the dragon clearly proves his mortality and perhaps moral fallibilitythe poem itself stands as a testament to the raw greatness of his life, ensuring his ascension into the secular heaven of warrior legend.The Beowulf story has its roots in a pagan Saxon past, but by the time the epic was written down, almost all Anglo-Saxons had converted to Christianity.

As a result, the Beowulf poet is at pains to resolve his Christian beliefs with the often quite un-Christian behavior of his characters. Beowulf: A History of Violence in Anglo-Saxon Culture In the Anglo-Saxon epic, “Beowulf”, the theme of violence is prevalent throughout the entire story - Violence in Beowulf introduction.

The hero, Beowulf, is referred to as the strongest, most powerful man in the world, and uses his strength to vanquish evil.

He slaughters two evil monsters. In the thrilling epic Beowulf, the theme of fatalism is very apparent throughout the poem. "Fate will go as it must." (Line ) The Anglo Saxons believed that people lived life as an everyday struggle against undefeatable odds and that a man's. A brief lesson on the early history of the Anglo-Saxons and the influences on the early epic poem \"Beowulf.\".

An Analysis of the Epic Poem, Beowulf - Anglo-Saxon Customs and Values Reflected in Beowulf; An Analysis of the Epic Poem, Beowulf - Anglo-Saxon Customs and Values Reflected in Beowulf.

Words 8 Pages. An Analysis of the Epic Poem, Beowulf - Characterization of Beowulf. Beowulf is the longest and greatest surviving Anglo-Saxon poem. The setting of the epic is the sixth century in what is now known as Denmark and southwestern Sweden. The poem opens with a brief genealogy of the Scylding (Dane) royal dynasty, named after a mythic hero, Scyld Scefing, who reached the.

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An analysis of the violence in the anglo saxon epic beowulf
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