Essay on The Motives Behind Beowulf 's Actions

1317 Words Nov 3rd, 2014 6 Pages
No Swords for Me
(An Analysis of The Motivations behind Beowulf’s Actions)
“Beowulf poem is primarily a kind of elegy for the departed hero, who, in this poetic enshrining of the past, enables a past culture to both survive and to be reborn.” (Tolkien) Beowulf is an Old English epic poem that is often times regarded as the oldest surviving epic poem of this culture. Therefore Beowulf is commonly cited as the most important work of Anglo-Saxon literature. Within the poem, Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, comes to the aid of Hrothgar, a king of the Danes who is currently under attack by a monster known as Grendel. This Epic then follows the hero Beowulf through his venture to slay both Grendel and Grendel’s mother. The tale then continues, following Beowulf through the later part of his life when he becomes king of the Geats and is forced to battle a dragon, who wounds him in battle, resulting in his death. Beowulf is often regarded as a tale that is reflection of the Anglo-Saxon culture. Beowulf himself is commonly referred to as a physical accumulation of all aspects of the heroic man at that time period, and therefore is very closely scrutinized as a way of analyzing the culture. Each and every choice made by Beowulf throughout the course of the Epic is closely analyzed in order to derive what kind of motivations and decision-making qualities these people must have possessed. The motivations for Beowulf’s actions were often times reduced simply to his need to achieve glory…

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