Importance Of Literature In Beowulf

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What is the importance of genre within poetry? I think through working with genre and some of its symbols, interpreting a piece of literature has a deeper meaning. Comparing and contrasting a piece to each other also brings up similar ideas and reoccurring themes that lead to drawing conclusions about human nature. While working with the poems Beowulf, Lanval, and Sir Gawain within their genres, I find that conditions within societies form a need of a hero figure but that hero varies with values of society and within different times in one’s life as seen with Northrop Frye’s idea of seasons connecting with genre.
Beowulf is the quintessence of an epic poem. Typically in an Epic, it has characteristics of hero-lust or the lust for glory regardless
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Natural law is the way of a specific society is organized. Beowulf exemplifies the morals that are valued by the society the poetry was founded: Angelo-Saxon. Through the narrator’s words about Grendel’s heinous actions we can see how the society worked: “nor stop his death-dealing nor pay the death price.” The death prince alluding to the Wergild, a man-prince, one has to pay to the family of the deceased after killing the victim or else forfeit a life in return. Violence is an accepted part of the culture but there are laws and traditions that are so soaked into the foundation of their society that even murderous creatures were expected to follow them. Violence and death was considered a tragic but necessary event in their lives; everyone must die.
A characteristic of the epic genre is the creation of a world of shock and horror. Beowulf is full of scenes that not only inspires shock and horror in the reader but also within the poetry itself. One example would be when Grendel’s mother comes to the mead hall to extract revenge for Grendel’s death: “The hell-dam was in panic, desperate to get out, in mortal terror the moment she was found (Beowulf, 70).” The epic poetry of Beowulf is a narrative tale with a dark, austere, and lofty language that creates a formal tone and also a shadowy

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