Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Beowulf, Literature, Grendel, Language, People, England, History, Character

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/09/26


Beowulf is an Anglo-Saxon literary work that is often heralded as a cornerstone of ancient British literature. This work of literature is believed to have been authored at some period between the eighth and eleventh century. It is written in Anglo-Saxon that was the main language spoken in Britain during this period. Beowulf if considered to be a foundation epic for the British and English culture in a similar manner that classics such as the Odyssey and the Iliad were foundational epics of the ancient Greek culture.
The setting of this literature piece is Denmark, in the 6th Century. In this story, there are several main characters. Beowulf is the primary character. He is the prince of Geats and is depicted as a physically and mentally strong character who has taken part in countless battles and won them all. In the story, Beowulf comes to the aid of Hrothgar, the king of Denmark whose land has constantly been attacked by a monster called Grendel killing a lot of the King’s subjects and warriors. He kills Grendel with his bare hands. Grendel’s mother is enraged and seeks out revenge. Eventually, Beowulf also kills Grendel’s mother. Beowulf returns home to Geats where he becomes King and rules for about 50 years. However, his own land is attacked by a dragon and once again, Beowulf is forced to come to the aid of his people. He finally manages to kill the dragon with the help of a servant named Wiglaf. However, he receives fatal injuries in the process, and he dies.
Beowulf as an epic poem depicts many themes with the primary one being heroism. Heroism has been a constant theme in many ancient works of literature, and this is no different in Beowulf. The hero is Beowulf, who comes to the aid of people who are weaker and who need his help. He puts his own life in danger to save others, first the Scyldings ruled by Hrothgar and then his own people. The theme of good vs. evil is also prevalent with Beowulf being the symbol of goodness while monsters and dragons such as Grendel depict evil. Ultimately, goodness prevails over evil in the story. Other minor themes present in the story include wealth, courage, strength and skill as well as violence.
Beowulf is an ancient poem, and there is no doubt that if it were authored today, there are several elements in the story that would change. The first element, that would change, would be the language. The Anglo-Saxon language spoken in Britain during the time of the poem’s composition has been progressively replaced by standard English. Therefore, there is a higher likelihood that the language of the story if written today would be standard English. Another element of the story, that would also probably be different, are the monsters. Current literature tends to orient towards new kinds of monsters such as vampires, zombies, mummies, serial killers and so on. Therefore, if Beowulf was written today, there is minimal likelihood that the main monsters would be dragons but would instead be new kinds of monsters.
However, there are still elements of the story that are relevant in the modern setting. These include the primary themes of heroism, courage, and bravery. These themes are still prevalent in modern literary works, and the concept of a hero is still a favorite for many authors. Beowulf is a character who overcomes adversity and comes to the rescue of other people. He is thus a hero, and this aspect would be very applicable in a modern setting.

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WePapers. (2020, September, 26) Beowulf Today Essay Sample. Retrieved July 21, 2024, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/beowulf-today-essay-sample/
"Beowulf Today Essay Sample." WePapers, 26 Sep. 2020, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/beowulf-today-essay-sample/. Accessed 21 July 2024.
WePapers. 2020. Beowulf Today Essay Sample., viewed July 21 2024, <https://www.wepapers.com/samples/beowulf-today-essay-sample/>
WePapers. Beowulf Today Essay Sample. [Internet]. September 2020. [Accessed July 21, 2024]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/beowulf-today-essay-sample/
"Beowulf Today Essay Sample." WePapers, Sep 26, 2020. Accessed July 21, 2024. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/beowulf-today-essay-sample/
WePapers. 2020. "Beowulf Today Essay Sample." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved July 21, 2024. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/beowulf-today-essay-sample/).
"Beowulf Today Essay Sample," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 26-Sep-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/beowulf-today-essay-sample/. [Accessed: 21-Jul-2024].
Beowulf Today Essay Sample. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/beowulf-today-essay-sample/. Published Sep 26, 2020. Accessed July 21, 2024.

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