Essay about Epic Poetry and Beowulf

683 Words Feb 18th, 2007 3 Pages

Epic Poems revolve around the beliefs and culture of a society, they tell stories of strength and courage. Many epics are based on the morale's of man, however tend to be unrealistic in nature. Epic Heroes, Elevated Language, and Anglo-Saxon values define the epic poem Beowulf about Anglo-Saxon culture and its hero.
Beowulf is an epic hero who portrays characteristics that idol a particular society. He finds him-self faced with struggles, which he conquers by making quests of nobility. ". . . Proclaiming that he'd go to that famous king,/" Beowulf, "Would sail across the sea to Hrothgar,/Now when [his] help was needed" (Beowulf 114-116). This shows Beowulf's selflessness and loyalty toward mankind. He also astonishes people
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". . . His ring-marked blade, straight at her head ;"(596), describes the beginning of the battle between Beowulf and Grendel's mother. Caesura is common in Anglo-Saxon poetry, it emphasizes rhythm and creates intensity in poems.
Anglo-Saxons had many values, they believed in leadership and were dominated by their need to protect their families. Loyalty was a necessity to the Anglo-Saxon people, their leaders were never unfaithful and in return warriors pledged their loyalty. Wiglaf expresses loyalty to Beowulf when he says ". . . Our glorious king! By almighty God,/ I'd rather burn myself than see/ flames swirling around my lord."(780). When Beowulf ventures to kill the dragon he falls, fate against him, and Wiglaf fighting beside him. Another value of the Anglo-Saxons that is used in their poetry is courage. Beowulf tells Hrothgar, "My purpose was this, to win the good will/ of your people or die in battle, pressed/ in Grendels fierce grip. Let me live in greatness/ and in courage, or here in this hall welcome/ my death!"(366-369). To Beowulf cowardice is not an option, he will either defeat Grendel or die trying. Valuing generosity the Anglo-Saxons believe that they will be rewarded for their kindness. ". . . Then Wiglaf went back, anxious/ To return while Beowulf was still alive,"(791-792) he wanted to ". . . bring him/ Treasure they'd won together."(792-793). By taking the treasure to Beowulf, Wiglaf is rewarded when Beowulf

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