Beowulf: An Analysis Essay

1599 Words Mar 31st, 2011 7 Pages
Stav Gare
Mrs. Saddler
English
11/26/10
Beowulf
Anglo Saxons are Germanic people that lived during the 5th and 6th centuries. This early Anglo-Saxon society was centered on families and clans. The earliest Saxon settlers and families in England were pagans who worshipped a number of gods. Although Anglo Saxons had unalterable beliefs, Christians eventually purveyed their religion upon the pagans. However, the ideals of paganism still perpetuate through the most prominent epic poem of this era called Beowulf. Beowulf embodies both epic and Christian poetry, but since the written language of Old English was not fully developed during this period, oral poetry was the basis of passing down important information about their society.
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Beowulf not only displays courage, but also shows an immense strength that makes the probability of him overpowering his enemies more likely. For example, when he goes to fight the monster Grendel, Beowulf uses his strength to tear Grendel’s claws off with his bare hands. This code of honor is a moral fabric of paganism and asserts that when a kingdom is attacked, its allies must come to the kingdoms defense. Since Beowulf abides by the code of honor, he has the responsibility to help King Hrothgar when he is attacked by supernatural monsters. Once Grendel’s mother sees her son dead, she attacks Herot, which causes Beowulf to go to the lake where the monstrous being lives and once there, he kills her. After Beowulf kills Grendel’s mother, Beowulf is“found [Grendel] lying dead in his corner, /armless, exactly as that fierce fighter/ had sent him out from Herot, then struck off/ his head with a single swift blow” (661-664). Beowulf decapitates Grendel symbolizing Beowulf’s revenge for Grendel not paying wergild for murdering all those innocent men. Moreover, Beowulf is an epic poem because it incorporates fate which is a key factor in pagan/Christian cultures. In Beowulf the pagans accredit their success in battles they have been faced with the reasons of fate and how God premeditates everything. The contest between Beowulf and Breca where they must swim across the sea is illustrated as fate. After a few nights a flood comes and sweeps Beowulf away and then

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