See Article History Beowulf, heroic poem, the highest achievement of Old English literature and the earliest European vernacular epic. It deals with events of the early 6th century and is believed to have been composed between and Although originally untitled, it was later named after the Scandinavian hero Beowulf, whose exploits and character provide its connecting theme. There is no evidence of a historical Beowulf, but some characters, sites, and events in the poem can be historically verified.
Study Questions 1 How is Beowulf structured? How does this structure relate to the theme or themes of the work as a whole? One can argue that this structure relates to the theme of the epic in that each monster presents a specific moral challenge against which the Anglo-Saxon heroic code can be measured and tested.
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.
Along these lines, the gap of fifty years between the first two conflicts and the last marks the dividing line. One of the main thematic points highlighted by such a division is the difference in responsibilities of the warrior and of the king. As a young warrior, Beowulf is free to travel afar to protect others, but as an old king, he must commit himself to guard his own people.
Additionally, whereas Beowulf focuses on the heroic life early on, seeking to make a name for himself, he must focus on fate and the maintenance of his reputation late in life.
What role does patriarchal history play in this world? Why does it matter to the warriors who their ancestors were?
By placing such an emphasis on who their fathers were and how their fathers acted, the men of Beowulf bind themselves to a cycle of necessity governed by the heroic code. In this way, patriarchal history works to concretize and strengthen the warrior code in a world full of uncertainty and fear.
One might contrast this socially accepted version of patriarchal history with the various alternative models that the poem presents. Grendel, for example, descends from Cain, the biblical icon of familial disloyalty, and the avenging of his death is undertaken by a female relative rather than a male one.
Examples of family discontinuity abound as well. For instance, Shield Sheafson is an orphan, and the Last Survivor represents the end of an entire race.
Beowulf is similar to both of these characters—his father died while Beowulf was still young, and Beowulf himself dies without an heir. The anxiety about succession focuses attention on the ties between generations. Both Hrothgar and Hygelac depend on the loyalty of others if their sons are to inherit their respective kingships.
All of these concerns help emphasize the importance of family heritage as a cultural value. The Beowulf story has its roots in a pagan Saxon past, but by the time the epic was written down, almost all Anglo-Saxons had converted to Christianity.
As a result, the Beowulf poet is at pains to resolve his Christian beliefs with the often quite un-Christian behavior of his characters. This tension leads to frequent asides about God, hell, and heaven—and to many allusions to the Old Testament throughout the work.
In the end, however, the conflict proves simply irresolvable. Though his death in the encounter with the dragon clearly proves his mortality and perhaps moral fallibilitythe poem itself stands as a testament to the raw greatness of his life, ensuring his ascension into the secular heaven of warrior legend.“Beowulf” is a heroic epic poem written by an unknown author in Old English, some time between the 8th and the 10th Century schwenkreis.com is one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature, and has been the subject of much scholarly study, theory, speculation and discourse.
A Comparison of the Anglo-Saxon's Cultural Value From Beowulf to Today's Cultural Values. The Vikings of Bjornstad's. Viking Movie List. Click on the alphabetized titles below to see our comments on each movie (or television series.).
The folk epic Beowulf reflects many Anglo-Saxon values. The Anglo-Saxon epic stresses the physical world, fairness, boasting, love of glory, belief in wyrd, deep sense of loyalty to the tribe and the tribal leader, and the importance of generosity and bravery.5/5(1).
Anglo Saxon Culture as reflected in Beowulf Every culture has its own set of beliefs values and customs. Cultural beliefs, values, and assumptions are directly and indirectly acquired throughout a lifetime.
A culture is the sum of a group’s way of life and this is no different with the ancient Anglo Saxon culture.
New York Times bestseller and winner of the Whitbread Award. Composed toward the end of the first millennium, Beowulf is the elegiac narrative of the adventures of Beowulf, a Scandinavian hero who saves the Danes from the seemingly invincible monster Grendel and, later, from Grendel's mother.