Interesting Literature

A Summary and Analysis of Beowulf

By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)

What happens in Beowulf , the jewel in the crown of Anglo-Saxon poetry? The title of the poem is probably the most famous thing about it – that, and the fact that a monster named Grendel features at some point. But because the specific details of the story are not widely known, numerous misconceptions about the poem abound. When was Beowulf  written?

This is a matter of some conjecture, with guesses ranging anywhere between the eighth century and the first half of the eleventh century. Critics can’t even agree on what the first line of the poem means . In the following post, we offer a short summary of  Beowulf , and an introduction to its main themes.

Plot Summary

We’ll start with a brief summary of  Beowulf  before proceeding to some textual analysis and critical reading.  Beowulf is a classic ‘overcoming the monster’ story. Most people know that the poem documents the struggle of the title character in vanquishing a monster named Grendel.

But what is less well known is that Beowulf has to slay not one big monster, but three: after he has taken care of Grendel, the dead monster’s mother shows up, and she proves even more of a challenge for our hero (though ultimately Beowulf triumphs and wins the day).

The poem then ends with Beowulf, now in his twilight years, slaying a third monster (this time, a dragon), although this encounter proves his undoing, as he is fatally wounded in the battle. The poem ends with his subsequent death and ‘burial’ at sea.

But the poem doesn’t begin with Beowulf. It opens with an account of a Danish king named Hrothgar, who was the one responsible for building a great hall (named Heorot), a hall which is now being terrorised by the monstrous Grendel. Beowulf hears that Grendel is killing Hrothgar’s men at Heorot and so our hero departs from home to go and help rid Heorot of this monster.

Beowulf is from a different kingdom – the nearby Geatland, in modern-day Sweden – so we have one of the classic tropes of adventure narratives, that of the hero leaving home to go and vanquish some foe in a foreign land. Think of Bilbo Baggins leaving the Shire, or Frodo for that matter, in  The Hobbit  and  The Lord of the Rings (and, indeed, we’ll return to Tolkien shortly).

Beowulf and his men spend the night at Heorot and wait for Grendel to turn up. When the monster appears, Beowulf and his men attack the troll-like monster with their swords.

But the monster – which is described as resembling a troll – cannot be killed with a blade, as Beowulf soon realises. So he does what lesser men would fear to do: he wrestles the monster with his bare hands, eventually tearing off one of its arms. Grendel flees, eventually dying of his wound.

The next night, Grendel’s mother – angered by the attack on her son – turns up to wreak vengeance, and once again Beowulf finds himself having to roll up his sleeves and engage in fierce combat, which this time takes place in the underwater lair of the monster deep beneath the surface of a lake.

Although he has been given a strong sword (named Hrunting) by Unferth (a man who had previously doubted Beowulf – the sword is given as a token of friendship), Beowulf finds this sword useless against Grendel’s mother. (Immunity to swords evidently runs in the family.) But this time, hand-to-hand fighting, which had proved handy against Grendel, is equally useless.

Beowulf only succeeds in vanquishing the monster when he grabs a magic sword from the pile of treasure lying in the monster’s lair, and is able to behead the monster with the weapon.

Travelling deeper into the monster’s lair, Beowulf comes across the dying Grendel, and – armed with his new magic sword – decides to lop off the son’s head as well, for good measure. Both monsters have now been slain, and Beowulf is a hero.

Following his victory over the two monsters, Beowulf then returns to the water’s surface (at ‘noon’ – which, interestingly, when the poem was written, was actually three o’clock in the afternoon, or the ninth hour after dawn) before rejoining his men and journeying back to the hall for mead and rejoicing.

The poem then moves forward fifty years to Beowulf’s last fight, his run-in with the dragon (which has been angered by the theft of some of its treasure – shades of The Hobbit once more?). This fight results in one last victory for our great hero, followed by his own death from the mortal would inflicted by the poisoned horn of the beast (though presumably Beowulf was rather advanced in years by this point anyway).

The poem ends with Beowulf’s burial at sea, which is described in much detail – why this might be is discussed below. But this much constitutes a reasonably complete summary of the plot of  Beowulf . So, what about the context for the poem?

Facts about  Beowulf

Although it is celebrated nowadays as an important work of Anglo-Saxon – indeed, ‘English’ – literature, Beowulf was virtually unknown and forgotten about, amazingly, for nearly a thousand years. It was only rescued from obscurity in 1815, when an Icelandic-Danish scholar named Thorkelin printed an edition of the poem.

And although it is seen as the starting-point of great English literature – at many universities, it is still the earliest literary text studied as part of the literary canon – it is very different from other medieval poetry, such as that by Chaucer or Langland, who were writing many centuries later.

It is set in Denmark, has a Swedish hero, and – when read in the original Anglo-Saxon – seems almost more German than ‘English’. This is, of course, because Anglo-Saxon (i.e. the language of the Angles and Saxons from north Germany)  was  Old English (the two terms are used synonymously), and at the very latest the poem was written down some time in the early eleventh century, before 1066 and the Norman invasion, which would bring many French words into English and would pave the way for Middle English (or the English of the Middle Ages).

In ending with the tale of a dragon attempting to defend a mound of treasure, the poem prefigures not only the works of J. R. R. Tolkien (who, as well as being the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings , was also an influential Anglo-Saxon scholar who translated Beowulf   and wrote an important article on it   – of which more below) but also, more surprisingly, other poems like Lewis Carroll’s nonsense masterpiece, ‘Jabberwocky’ . It also looks back to Greek and Roman epics like Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid .

Indeed, during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries many scholars endeavoured to show that the author of Beowulf had been influenced by these classical works, but, in summary, the truth appears to be far more interesting. Rather than directly drawing on the work of Homer and Virgil, the Beowulf poet simply seems to have hit upon the idea of using similar plot devices and character types.

This suggests that different cultures, in these old days of oral storytelling, utilised the same methods in very different works of literature, without having direct knowledge of each other. We can compare Beowulf , too, with the legend of King Arthur (which began to appear in written sources around the same time), specifically in terms of the magic sword which the hero of both stories uses in order to fulfil his quest.

These aspects seem to be hard-wired within us and to be integral parts of human nature: for instance, ideas of bravery and of triumphing over an evil, superhuman force.

This plot, as our brief summary of Beowulf above suggests, shares many of the typical elements of heroic narratives. Although the analogy might seem a little crude, the mechanics of the plot are not so far removed from, say, a James Bond or Indiana Jones film, or a fast-paced fantasy novel or superhero comic strip. The hero takes it upon himself to save the kingdom at immense personal risk to himself.

The foe he faces is no ordinary foe, and conventional weapons are powerless against it. Despite the odds being stacked against him, he manages to ‘overcome the monster’, to borrow Christopher Booker’s phrase for this type of narrative . But this action has consequences, and is in fact merely the prologue to a bigger conflict that must take place: that between Beowulf and Grendel’s mother.

This is why it is odd that the story of the poem is generally thought of as ‘Beowulf versus Grendel’. But this next conflict will prove even more difficult: as well as swords being useless, the strong sword (Hrunting) given to Beowulf by Unferth will also be powerless against Grendel’s mother. But hand-to-hand combat – which was deployed successfully in the vanquishing of Grendel – is also of no use now.

The odds continue to be stacked against our hero, the difficulties multiplying, the tension raised to an almost unbearable pitch. Can he still save the day, when everything he tries seems to be of no avail? Well, yes – though for a while the chances of Beowulf triumphing are looking less and less likely.

The final encounter, with the dragon years later, will prove the most difficult of all – and although he is successful and overcomes the monster, he will pay the ultimate price: victory will come at the cost of his own life.

This patterning of three – three monsters, each of which proves successively more of a challenge to the hero – is found in numerous adventure plots. To a greater or lesser extent, it can be seen in much modern fantasy fiction – such as that by Tolkien.

One thing that the basic overarching story or plot summary of  Beowulf makes clear is just how formative and archetypal it is, not just in heroic ‘English’ literature, but in fantasy literature, too.

Interpretations of  Beowulf

Talking of Tolkien, it was his influential 1936 essay, ‘Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics’, which was really responsible for a shift in the way that people read Beowulf.  Rather than viewing it as a historical document, Tolkien urged, we should be reading and appreciating it as a work of poetry.   Tolkien also argued that the poem is not an ‘epic’ but an  elegy , ending as it does with the moving account of its hero’s funeral.

Tolkien also argues that Beowulf’s death following his combat with the dragon represents a fitting and more ‘elemental’ end for the hero, who had successfully vanquished the monster Grendel and Grendel’s mother (who, although not human, were nevertheless closer to man than a dragon).

The story is about overcoming an evil foe, only to have to give way to death at the end: even heroes must accept that they will not live forever, even if their names will. ‘Men must endure their going hence’, as Shakespeare has it in  King Lear (a line borrowed for C. S. Lewis’s tombstone).

But Beowulf’s life has been a life well lived because he stood up to evil and was victorious. And Grendel and his mother are ‘evil’ in the Christian sense of the word: the author of  Beowulf tells us that they were spawned from Cain (the first murderer in the Bible) when he was cast out of Eden. Grendel and his mother, then, are similarly outcasts, something that has been rejected by mainstream society and whose violence must be overcome. (For more on Tolkien, have a read of our five fascinating facts about him .)

Beowulf’s name, by the way, was long thought to mean ‘bee-wolf’, as in the two animals. The ‘bee’ theory appears unlikely, however – as does the idea that it is from the same root as our word ‘bear’, suggesting bearlike strength.

No, it turns out that the first part of Beowulf’s name is more probably related to a pre-Christian god named ‘Beow’. Beowulf has an almost divine strength, but also something primal and temporal, but just as valuable: the courage of a wolf.

If you enjoyed this brief summary of, and introduction to,  Beowulf , then you can learn more about the poem here  at the British Library website.

Further Reading

26 thoughts on “A Summary and Analysis of Beowulf”

Beowulf is indeed a fascinating work and I always look forward to introducing my students to this foundation of hero motifs. Beowulf, despite his tendency to boast a bit (isn’t that where we get kennings?), he was pretty much the perfect hero–intregrity, strong, clever, self-sacrificing.

Reblogged this on Willow's Corner and commented: We read a snippet of Beowulf in Jr. High School (the dragon part) and I’ve always found the story fascinating. I can’t quite read the Old English, but I love to read the different translations. And anyone who’s a Tolkien fan should read his essay.

I would argue that Grendel’s mother (who is interestingly only ever referred to as “the mother”) commits her acts of revenge out of grief, as well as anger. Also, Beowulf is most commonly described as an epic poem; the label makes its main character, Beowulf, an epic-hero. By virtue of being a hero, Beowulf is set-apart from the society presented in the heroic epic. However, in order to be recognized as heroic hero, Beowulf must participate in society in some meaningful way. Thus the character’s role is split and this binary role is portrayed in different ways depending on the translation of Beowulf. There are more than 85 translations of Beowulf, and each one is slightly biased in its interpretation. Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney’s translation in particular equates Beowulf with the dragon, another “other” figure, in a way that is not replicated by the other translators to emphasize Beowulf’s role as a distinct hero. Since translation is a form of interpretation, I believe Heaney’s translation is particularly biased in thinking about Beowulf in the ancient Ango-Saxon tale and makes Beowulf a more complex character than the original tale describes, torn by his glorious role as epic hero and his duty to his people within a carefully constructed social structure. As the author of this post writes, the morals, tropes, and figures create a bases for understanding many other English works that were to follow, so it’s interesting to see how relatively young Britain works with this tale and interprets its own history.

Tolkien was also heavily influenced by the old Norse (Norwegian/Icelandic) prose Edda and Voluspa; this was where he found the names of his dwarves. In addition, the poem Havamal also speaks of how everyone must die, except a man’s reputation.

Reblogged this on F.T. McKinstry and commented: Some interesting thoughts here on a classic, with references to J.R.R. Tolkien’s take on it.

Reblogged this on Mistrz i Małgorzata .

Fantastic article, it was education and entertaining all at once. I definitely want to go read Tolkien’s essay.

I have often wondered why the Beowulf story was lost for so long. The Arthurian story was passed down for generations, but Beowulf and his bravery forgotten. I think it is because people could relate to, and thus embrace, the faults of Arthur over the heroism in Beowulf.

Reblogged this on Storey on a Story Blog and commented: This is a great commentary on the story of Beowulf. I wanted to share it with you all.

The poem actually begins with Scyld Sheffing’s funeral, and it ends with Beowulf’s. This is deliberate. The central section is the killing of the monsters. The pattern is the establishment of the house of the Geats, the rescue of the house of Heorot by destroyng the house of Grendel, and the end of the house of the Geats with Beowulf.

How utterly fascinating! I have a copy of Beowolf which I confess to my shame I’ve never read despite it being on my shelf for more than 30 years. I must make amends!

Interesting post (!) and it struck a chord (!) funnily enough with a podcast i was listening to yesterday made by a music blogger, who did a 20 minute podcast on the 12 bar blues https://goodmusicspeaks.wordpress.com/good-music-speaks-podcast-3/ . Which of course is heavily dependent on the rule of 3 – line A; repeat line A; variation/resolution. And funnily enough, listening to a Mozart piano concerto, the same pattern was in the phrases, with the third line, the variation, leading of course to a musical resolution /transformation which enables the lead on the the complete next stage – so, in this, there is Beowulf triumphs, Beowulf triumphs again, Beowulf triumphs but in this third phrase his ‘phrase’ resolves with transformation/death.

I guess the ‘rule of three’ is viscerally satisfying!

There’s an excellent film called ‘The Thirteenth Warrior’, in which an exiled Islamic poet joins a band of Vikings to defeat what appears to be a Beowulfian monster attacking a hall. The producers showed some respect for scholarship by including authentic details, for instance the rituals surrounding the ship burial of a Viking chief.

The film being referenced in the comment above by poetmcgonagall, is a film adaptation of Michael Crighton’s excellent ‘Eaters of the Dead’ which gives a facinating take on the Beowulf/Grendel legend. Pay particular attention to his treatment of the Dragon which is all the more horrifying for not being a giant lizard.

I’ve read Beowulf many times over the years (was introduced to the Old-English version back in High School) and you’ve provided an excellent summary.

“not so far removed from, say, a James Bond or Indiana Jones film, or a fast-paced fantasy novel or superhero comic strip” Yes–but also, surely, the Western? What this tells us, I think, is how deep-rooted is the human need for the idea of the stranger who rides (all right, comes by boat) into town, deals with the monster/fear/rich landowner/evil bandit who is terrorising the townfolk and rides out again. No?

Reblogged this on Blogging Beowulf and commented: A great post on one of my favorite works.

  • Pingback: What Happens in Beowulf? An Interesting Summary | the shadows illuminated

Reblogged this on cjheries and commented: If, in my first year at Reading University in 1964/65, we had studied Beowulf instead of extracts from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (so dull!) maybe I should have stuck with reading English instead of switching to Philosophy and obtained a better class of degree than the Gentleman’s I ended up woth (a pass, just like T S Eliot).

I’ve just startd reading Seamus Heaney’s translation and I must say it’s easy to follow so far!

I’ve had the Heaney translation on my shelves for years, but your post has piqued my interest. It will be moved to my TBR pile. Thank you!

  • Pingback: 10 Short Medieval Poems Everyone Should Read | Interesting Literature
  • Pingback: Scurte #308 | Assassin CG

Reblogged this on beocorgi and commented: Very Interesting. I never thought of Jabberwocky like that but now that its pointed out I can definitely see it

  • Pingback: Five Fascinating Facts about Geoffrey Chaucer | Interesting Literature
  • Pingback: Five Fascinating Facts about ‘Jabberwocky’ | Interesting Literature
  • Pingback: Happy Tolkien Reading Day! | Interesting Literature
  • Pingback: ‘Jabberwocky’: Key Themes – Interesting Literature

Comments are closed.

Discover more from Interesting Literature

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Type your email…

Continue reading

75 Beowulf Essay Topics

BEOWULF ESSAY TOPICS

Beowulf, penned at the dawn of the 11th century, stands as a cornerstone of Old English literature. This epic poem, extending over 3,000 lines and unfolding across the war-torn landscapes of ancient Scandinavia, offers a rich tapestry of themes and stylistic nuances that continue to fascinate scholars and students alike. When tasked with an essay on Beowulf, selecting an engaging topic is paramount. This article delves into potential subjects for your paper and provides guidance on choosing one that resonates with you.

Table of Contents

Tips for Choosing an Optimal Beowulf Essay Topic

Opting for a topic that genuinely piques your interest rather than a seemingly easy one can significantly enhance the quality of your research and writing. Here’s how you can make an informed choice:

  • Personal Interest: Engage with topics that intrigue you, encouraging deeper thought and thorough research.
  • Uniqueness: While you don’t have to select an obscure subject, strive for a fresh perspective in your discussion, ensuring your essay stands out.
  • Scope: Narrow down broad topics to specific aspects, providing a clear direction for your essay and making it more manageable.

Inspiring Beowulf Essay Topics

Consider exploring various dimensions of the poem through topics such as:

  • The societal roles of women in Beowulf.
  • The effect of digression in enhancing the narrative.
  • The relationship between warriors and lordship.
  • The portrayal of traditional society within the epic.
  • Character development throughout the poem.
  • Lessons derived from the tales of Siegmund and Finn.
  • The theme of male dominance in Beowulf.
  • The significance of Hrothgar’s sermon in understanding the author’s viewpoint.
  • The central role of the mead hall in the community.
  • An in-depth analysis of Grendel’s character.
  • Beowulf’s virtues and flaws.
  • A detailed review of the epic battle between Beowulf and Grendel.
  • Major themes and moral lessons in the story.
  • The eternal clash of good vs. evil as depicted in the poem.
  • An evaluation of Beowulf’s heroism.
  • Parallels between Beowulf and the biblical Cain.
  • The influence of religion in Beowulf’s world.
  • The importance of lineage and ancestry in one’s self-esteem.
  • Beowulf’s leadership qualities or lack thereof.
  • Perspectives on treasure and material wealth within the poem.

Symbolism and Motifs in Beowulf

  • The role of dragons in ancient literature and Beowulf.
  • The significance of the mead hall and community bonding.
  • Water’s symbolic role in Beowulf’s challenges and battles.
  • The representation of light and darkness in the poem.
  • The importance of armor and shields in the poem.

Historical and Cultural Context

  • Beowulf’s relationship with historical Scandinavian events.
  • How Beowulf reflects Anglo-Saxon values and beliefs.
  • Paganism vs. Christianity in Beowulf.
  • The societal structure and its influence on the narrative.
  • The depiction of funeral rites and their significance.

Character Analyses

  • Unferth’s role and contrast with Beowulf.
  • The depiction of women: Wealhtheow and Grendel’s mother.
  • King Hrothgar’s leadership vs. Beowulf’s heroism.
  • The significance of Wiglaf and the idea of loyalty.
  • Analyzing Aeschere’s importance to Hrothgar and the story.

Narrative Techniques and Literary Devices

  • The role of the scop (bard) in Beowulf.
  • The use of kennings and their impact on imagery.
  • Alliteration and its rhythmic role in Beowulf.
  • The function of epic similes in the poem.
  • The influence of oral tradition on the narrative style.

Themes and Philosophies

  • The concept of fate (wyrd) in Beowulf.
  • The price of pride and its consequences.
  • The exploration of mortality and legacy.
  • The balance between courage and recklessness.
  • Revenge as a driving force in Beowulf.

Comparative Analyses

  • Beowulf and modern superheroes: parallels and contrasts.
  • Comparing Beowulf to other epics like “The Iliad” or “Gilgamesh”.
  • Beowulf and the Norse sagas: similarities and differences.
  • The idea of the monstrous in Beowulf vs. other literature.
  • Beowulf’s influence on Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”.

Broader Perspectives

  • Beowulf’s relevance in the 21st century.
  • The challenges and merits of translating Beowulf.
  • How adaptations (like movies or novels) have interpreted Beowulf.
  • The depiction of heroism in Beowulf vs. modern culture.
  • The ethics and values presented in Beowulf and their applicability today.

In-depth Explorations

  • The importance of loyalty and kinship in the poem.
  • The nature of evil: Analyzing Grendel and his lineage.
  • The concept of legacy in Beowulf’s final act.
  • The depiction of aging and its impact on heroism.
  • The influence of external forces, like God or fate, on characters’ decisions.

Beowulf’s Battles

  • A detailed look into Beowulf’s battle with the dragon.
  • Strategy and might: The takedown of Grendel.
  • Psychological warfare: Beowulf vs. Grendel’s mother.
  • The consequences and aftermath of each of Beowulf’s battles.
  • The role of supernatural vs. human strength in Beowulf’s combat scenes.

Creative Angles for Your Beowulf Essay

Dive into the poem’s depths by examining:

  • The symbolism of gold and its reflection on societal values.
  • The heroic ideals embodied by characters.
  • The significance of weaponry and its portrayal of strength and honor.
  • Gender roles and equality in Beowulf’s era.
  • The portrayal of leadership and its impact on society.
  • Beowulf’s enduring strength and prowess in his later years.
  • The cultural and societal norms depicted in the poem.
  • The integration and importance of religious motifs.
  • A critique of the society within Beowulf, highlighting admirable and disdainful attributes.
  • The exploration of fictional elements within the historical context of the poem.

Concluding Thoughts on Beowulf Essay Topics

Whether you encounter Beowulf in high school or college, crafting an essay on this epic can seem daunting. However, with a topic that strikes a chord with you and a unique angle, your essay can resonate deeply and intellectually. Should you find yourself struggling, remember that professional help is just a click away. Submit an order form, and receive a top-notch, plagiarism-free essay, complete with proper citations and adherence to your guidelines.

order poster

105 Beowulf Essay Topics & Examples

See tips on writing the Beowulf thesis statements and critical analysis of the poem. Also, our experts have prepared a list of ideas and prompts that allow you to explore the archetypal epic hero and more!

Study Help Essay Questions

1. Discuss the significance of the heroic code of comitatus in Beowulf, considering specifically the actions of Beowulf as a young warrior, Wiglaf as a young warrior, and the cowardly retainers at the dragon fight.

2. Consider two of the following as symbols: Heorot, Grendel's claw, the cave, or the dragon's treasure-hoard.

3. How does the poet use the theme of revenge in the poem? Consider the motivation of characters such as Grendel, Grendel's mother, and the dragon, as well as Beowulf.

4. Other than Beowulf, who is your favorite character in the poem? Why?

5. What is the importance of Hrothgar's sermon? Cite at least two specific points that he makes and how they affect our understanding of Beowulf.

Previous Full Glossary for Beowulf

Next Practice Projects

has been added to your

Reading List!

Removing #book# from your Reading List will also remove any bookmarked pages associated with this title.

Are you sure you want to remove #bookConfirmation# and any corresponding bookmarks?

ipl-logo

Beowulf Essay: The Final Battle

Beowulf: The Final Battle Beowulf, lines 2824-2835, depicts the aftermath of the grand battle between Beowulf, also known as the Geatish hero, and The dragon, a gruesome and vengeful creature. To briefly summarize the occurrence; a slave enters a sleeping dragon’s barrow and steals one of his treasures, a golden cup. The dragon awakes to find his treasure cup missing. Engulfed with rage, the creature flies into the kingdom in order to seek revenge. The dragon spews flames burning down homesteads and ultimately causing distress among the men. Beowulf, despite his old age, takes it upon his mission to fight the monster. He gathers eleven warriors and together they set out to find the dragon’s lair; however, upon their arrival, Beowulf insists …show more content…

Throughout the poem, the author chooses to alliterate certain word in order to grab the reader’s attention and enhance their reading experience. When the poet notes, “Hard-edged blades, hammered out and keenly filed had finished him,”(lines 2828-2829). There is a lot emphasis being placed in the “h” sound and in the reader’s minds, they are taken to a place where they can imagine the wolverine about to slice and dice one of his enemies in a swift move. The author seemed to understand the necessity for appealing to the audience, as he makes the reader imagine the scene of the dragon striking Beowulf in his/her mind. Another example of alliteration in the passage is when the poet states, “Never again would he glitter and glide and show himself off in midnight air.” (lines 2832-2833). This time, there’s emphasis being placed on “g” thus creating a sort of chilling effect. In addition, despite the dragon being evil, the words, “glitter” and “glide” portray the dragon as beautiful and alluring. Nevertheless, the death of the dragon represents the actions that Beowulf took to save his people. Although one may not question his actions as heroic, his motives are questionable. Beowulf put his pride before his people portraying himself more of a hero but less of a

Beowulf Good Vs Evil Essay

and we went under the crag. No coward path” (Beowulf 2539 - 2541). In this scene of Beowulf, Beowulf is going to kill the dragon in his lair and everyone but one person runs off once they see the dragon.

The Hero's Journey: The Power Of The Myth, By Joseph Campbell

Years, later after fighting Grendel and his mother, Beowulf is brought to his lowest point. This is when he fights a dragon that had terrorised the Geats. During the battle “None of his comrades Came

Beowulf Epic Hero's Journey

In the last stage of Beowulf’s epic hero journey, fatalism determines his grand finale against the dragon. The warrior king’s long journey is now coming to a close and before going into battle against the dragon, Beowulf realizes that, “After many trials,/ he was destined to face the end of his days/ in this mortal world; as was the dragon,/ for all his long leasehold on the treasure” (Beowulf 2341-2344). After facing Grendel and his mother, fate has lead Beowulf to the crisis of his journey. The dragon is the final monster he must defeat in order to complete his monomyth cycle. He is a symbol of the deadly sin, greed.

Beowulf Essay: The Hero's Journey

The poem goes on to explain how he rules his kingdom for 50 years after defeating Grendel and Grendel’s mother and returning home. As an old man, even after his previous battles, he continues to be a good king of his people. He soon learns of the havoc that a dragon is bringing to his kingdom in his late years (Beowulf 79-80). He chooses to protect his kingdom and go to fight the dragon, even though he is not physically strong anymore. This is an important point in the story for Beowulf’s character-

Beowulf Evil Quotes

The epic poem states “ wait, for me close by, my friends we shall see, soon who will survive this bloody battle, stand when the fighting is done no one else could do what I mean to, here, no man but me could hope to defeat this monster no one could try,” (lines 679-685). This quote shows how the hero steps up to slay the all mighty dragon that no one was able to kill but him. Beowulf tells his men to stay behind so that he could do it on his own. Beowulf was doing something that all hero’s do, which is giving his opponent a fair fight and seeing who comes out on top.

Power Of Fear In Beowulf

Through the perils of its lair and its poisonous fangs, “the ground-burner” embodies man’s fear of inevitable death (2713). After finding the man who awoke the beast, the Geats encounter the dragon’s home. Beowulf enters “an underground barrow near the sea-billows” to face his enemy alone as his men wait outside on the crag (2411). The beast’s lair symbolizes

Examples Of Honor In Beowulf

Questions of Honor: Beowulf Beowulf’s honor and integrity can be questioned throughout the entirety of the epic poem, Beowulf. Whether or not his actions are inspired by his own pompous arrogance or confidence, one can argue that he is a hero nonetheless. Evidence and experience prove that Beowulf is more of a fearless hero than an excessively prideful man, and his hubris is more than justified due to the formidable duties he is able to execute. Throughout the poem, Beowulf expresses his intense strength and courage to the fearful people in the poem. His daring sense of self-assurance is backed by his victories against all three monsters, (even though he suffers a tragic death after facing the dragon, it is a defeat nonetheless).

Argumentative Essay: The Epic Of Beowulf

Eventually, a third and last monster appeared. This time the monster was a furious dragon that would attack and burn down the villages of Geatland. Obviously, Beowulf was ready to take on the dragon in a fight, but unfortunately, after defeating it, his wounds were not to fix. Sadly, Beowulf had fought his last fight. Eventually, The Geat’s held a worthy funeral for Beowulf, and they even built an enormous barrow where he could rest in peace.

Beowulf's Faith And Confidence Analysis

In lines 725-729, “he raised his sword and struck at the dragon’s scaly hide. The ancient blade broke, bit into the monster’s skin, drew blood, but cracked and failed him before it went deep enough”. Beowulf’s strength was very weak that he couldn’t cut the dragon with his sword. Beowulf tried to defeat the dragon. In lines 682-685, “No one else could do what I mean to, here, no man but me could hope to defeat this monster.

Herot Quotes In Beowulf

Beowulf attempted to comfort Hrothgar and the warriors by exclaiming, “Let your sorrow end! It is better for us all to avenge our friends, not mourn them forever”. He then aims to convince Hrothgar that “for the glory of his name, fame after death is the noblest of goals”. Beowulf believes it is worth dying for a good

The Hero's Journey In Beowulf '

As Beowulf has a bond to Hrothgar because of his relationship to his father Ecgtheow, he chooses to journey to her realm which is under gloomy monster-infested waters and face her. Beowulf is a warrior who is bold, brave, and unafraid of challenges. In this grueling battle Beowulf comes close to perishing, as his sword Hrunting fails him. However he finds an ancient sword in the cave and uses it to kill her. He was setback by the loss of the sword but he prevailed and defeated the troll-dam.

Comparing Grendel's Mother And The Dragon In Beowulf

The third and final evil Beowulf must face is the dragon. At this point in the poem, Beowulf has been the “ring-giver” or king for half a century (Beowulf 2207). The role of a king in Germanic times included rewarding warriors with treasure captured in battle; however, the dragon keeps his treasure to himself. This greediness is in direct opposition to the qualities of a good king, and the dragon becomes the representation of selfishness and destruction. Beowulf takes on the role of a warrior once again, and defeats the dragon.

Fear Of The Monster In Beowulf

He fought harder than he had ever fought in his life. The battle was ferocious. Beowulf and the monster went back and forth in the fighting.

Beowulf Compare And Contrast Essay

In the movie the dragon, which is Beowulf’s son, get angry when a slave finds the dragon cup that Beowulf had given Grendel’s mother. In the movie Beowulf and Wiglaf go to face the dragon alone; when they get to the cave Beowulf enters alone the dragon chases them back and there is a bunch of men shooting at it. Beowulf eventually kills the dragon because he found a spot on the throat of the dragon that was told to him by the former king years ago. The movie and the poem of Beowulf had very many differences. There are a lot more differences between the two that you would have thought.

Beowulf Is A Hero Essay

As the story progress, Beowulf became king of the Geats for 50 years when suddenly a dragon emerged from slumber began to burn down villages. However, Beowulf didn’t pay the slightest attention, but instead ignored what was happening. Finally, when the dragon burns down Beowulf’s throne room Beowulf decided that he needs to deal with the dragon. In Beowulf 's eyes, the lives of his citizens couldn’t even compare to his throne room. When Beowulf prepared to fight the dragon he said, “Now I am old, but as king of the people I shall pursue this fight for the glory of winning” (lines 2512-2514).

More about Beowulf Essay: The Final Battle

Related topics.

  • Seven deadly sins
  • Alliteration

IMAGES

  1. ≫ Beowulf Conclusion Essay Free Essay Sample on Samploon.com

    beowulf final essay

  2. 72 Beowulf Essay Topics To Ace Your Paper

    beowulf final essay

  3. Beowulf Essay

    beowulf final essay

  4. Beowulf summary

    beowulf final essay

  5. An Essay on Beowulf (500 Words)

    beowulf final essay

  6. beowulf thesis example

    beowulf final essay

VIDEO

  1. Beowulf Edit 🗿

  2. Enid beowulf & hide final fighting & Wednesday save Wednesday #

  3. beowulf-7th boss part 2

  4. beowulf-7th and final boss The golden Dragon part 1

  5. Beowulf: The Final Boast

COMMENTS

  1. Beowulf: What Does the Ending Mean?

    What Does the Ending Mean? Previous. At the end of the poem, Beowulf goes to fight the dragon, anticipating that it will be his last battle. He succeeds in killing his opponent, but he is mortally wounded. His people give him a glorious funeral, but they have been left unprotected, and they foresee "enemies on the rampage, bodies in piles ...

  2. Beowulf: Sample A+ Essay

    After Beowulf dies, the poet announces the end of a glorious Geatish era by noting that "no follower" will wear the treasure Beowulf wins from the dragon in his memory, "nor lovely woman / link and attach [it] as a torque around her neck.". Treasure symbolizes prosperity and stability; without these attributes, the Geatish clan can no ...

  3. Beowulf Essay Final Draft

    Beowulf Essay Final Draft. Course: English Literature I (ENGL 160) 47 Documents. Students shared 47 documents in this course. University: Los Angeles Valley College. AI Chat. Info More info. Download. AI Quiz. Save. Kosche 1. Jade Kosche. Professor W allis. English 205 (1266) 9 October 2015.

  4. Division between Christianity and Paganism in Beowulf: [Essay Example

    In Beowulf, we see a clash between Christianity and Paganism often. Considering it was written to show how Christian beliefs are superior to Pagan beliefs, it would be strange if this wasn't seen. When Beowulf was written, Christians believed they were better than everyone else and they frowned upon people with different ideas than them.

  5. A Summary and Analysis of Beowulf

    The final encounter, with the dragon years later, will prove the most difficult of all - and although he is successful and overcomes the monster, he will pay the ultimate price: victory will come at the cost of his own life. ... Talking of Tolkien, it was his influential 1936 essay, 'Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics', which was ...

  6. Beowulf Sample Essay Outlines

    Topic #2 The poem divides itself into three segments, each dealing with a different battle between Beowulf and a monster or dragon. Compare the three battles. Outline I. Thesis Statement: In his ...

  7. Last Battle in Beowulf

    Beowulf's Last Battle. Beowulf's battle with the dragon is different from his previous encounters with Grendel and Grendel's mother. This time, he recruits men to aid him in the fight. He also ...

  8. Beowulf

    Beowulf, heroic poem, the highest achievement of Old English literature and the earliest European vernacular epic.The work deals with events of the early 6th century, and, while the date of its composition is uncertain, some scholars believe that it was written in the 8th century. Although originally untitled, the poem was later named after the Scandinavian hero Beowulf, whose exploits and ...

  9. Beowulf

    Beowulf is huge and strong. We are soon told that he has the strength of 30 men in his hand-grip. Just as important is the way that the young warrior (not much more than 20 years of age) carries himself; the Geat has the bearing of a noble leader, a champion, perhaps a prince. He has arrived to help the Scyldings; for 12 years, a mighty man ...

  10. 75 Good Beowulf Essay Topics and Ideas

    The concept of legacy in Beowulf's final act. The depiction of aging and its impact on heroism. The influence of external forces, like God or fate, on characters' decisions. ... Concluding Thoughts on Beowulf Essay Topics. Whether you encounter Beowulf in high school or college, crafting an essay on this epic can seem daunting. However ...

  11. Beowulf: Study Guide

    Beowulf, an epic poem of unknown authorship, was likely composed between the 8th and 11th centuries.It stands as a cornerstone of Anglo-Saxon literature, embodying the heroic spirit of the time. Set in Scandinavia, the narrative follows Beowulf, a Geatish warrior, as he arrives in Denmark to assist King Hrothgar in defeating the monstrous Grendel, who terrorizes the Danes.

  12. Beowulf: Mini Essays

    Beowulf's final encounter with the dragon evokes a heroic approach to wyrd, or fate. Though he recognizes that his time has come and that he will thus not survive his clash with the dragon, he bravely embraces his duty to protect his people, sacrificing his life to save them. Alternatively, one might make a division of the text into two parts ...

  13. Beowulf

    Beowulf (/ ˈ b eɪ ə w ʊ l f /; Old English: Bēowulf [ˈbeːowuɫf]) is an Old English epic poem in the tradition of Germanic heroic legend consisting of 3,182 alliterative lines.It is one of the most important and most often translated works of Old English literature.The date of composition is a matter of contention among scholars; the only certain dating is for the manuscript, which was ...

  14. Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics

    Overview. J. R. R. Tolkien's essay "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics", initially delivered as the Sir Israel Gollancz Memorial Lecture at the British Academy in 1936, and first published as a paper in the Proceedings of the British Academy that same year, is regarded as a formative work in modern Beowulf studies. In it, Tolkien speaks against critics who play down the monsters in the poem ...

  15. Major Themes in Beowulf

    Beowulf is skeptical, envisioning a renewal of hostilities. In fact, the Heathobards do later burn Heorot in events not covered by the poem but probably familiar to its audience. Another example of revenge overcoming peace occurs in the Finnsburh section (1068-1159). Beowulf's final battle is the result of vengeance.

  16. 105 Beowulf Essay Topics & Examples

    Tip #3. Write your essay while keeping a logical flow. Once you've finished with your topic research and created a Beowulf essay thesis statement, start writing your paper. Focus on the key issue of the essay and make a list of key points you're going to discuss.

  17. Essay Questions

    2. Consider two of the following as symbols: Heorot, Grendel's claw, the cave, or the dragon's treasure-hoard. 3. How does the poet use the theme of revenge in the poem? Consider the motivation of characters such as Grendel, Grendel's mother, and the dragon, as well as Beowulf. 4.

  18. Beowulf Essay: The Final Battle

    833 Words4 Pages. Beowulf: The Final Battle. Beowulf, lines 2824-2835, depicts the aftermath of the grand battle between Beowulf, also known as the Geatish hero, and The dragon, a gruesome and vengeful creature. To briefly summarize the occurrence; a slave enters a sleeping dragon's barrow and steals one of his treasures, a golden cup.

  19. Beowulf Final Essay Flashcards

    Beowulf Final Essay. Share. Flashcards; Learn; Test; Match; Get a hint. Pagan: stern, barbarous life, constant invasions and warfare. Click the card to flip 👆-Grendel attacks the danes for 12 years-As soon as beowulf makes peace, grendels mother starts a revenge tour.

  20. Free Beowulf Essays and Research Papers on GradesFixer

    1 page / 321 words. The epic poem Beowulf, written in Old English, tells the story of a heroic warrior who battles monsters and dragons to save his people. The poem has been adapted into various forms, including a movie, which has its own interpretation of the story. This essay... Beowulf Film Analysis.

  21. Beowulf Character Analysis in Beowulf

    In his youth, Beowulf is a great warrior, characterized predominantly by his feats of strength and courage, including his fabled swimming match against Breca. He also perfectly embodies the manners and values dictated by the Germanic heroic code, including loyalty, courtesy, and pride. His defeat of Grendel and Grendel's mother validates his ...

  22. Beowulf: Full Poem Analysis

    Beowulf's death is the perfect warrior's death: before he succumbs, he manages to slay a mighty opponent and secure a huge hoard of treasure for his people. Nevertheless his death is a disaster. At his funeral, his people foresee "enemies on the rampage, bodies in piles, / slavery and abasement" (ll. 3154-5). We are left with a sense ...

  23. ENG2302

    View Beowulf Final Essay.docx from ENG 2302 at Permian High School. Tealer 1 Shaniah Tealer Mrs. Armstrong English 4-DC 4th pd. 21 September 2022 Beowulf's Beliefs Beowulf is an Old English poem