Beowulf Is One of the Essay

  • Length: 8 pages
  • Sources: 8
  • Subject: Literature
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #93044665

Excerpt from Essay :

sof Hengest, though the employment of this striking phrase within the space of a few lines to designate both the opposing parties must be regarded as confusing" (Brown) This not only provides confusion for the interpretation and translation of the poem but also for the actual context and flow of events. Thus, this can be an example of transmutation that in turn can determine the value of a translated version or its lack of consistency.

Another important aspect in relation to the style of writing is focused on the artistic literary techniques. More precisely, the accent lies in the way in which the verse and the rhyme are constructed. Up to the interpretation of Tolkien, the rhyme and the verse were considered as lacking precision and value. Still the rhyme is thoroughly analyzed for any potential matching to an already invented system of rhythm and alliterations. A perfect example in the amplitude of the discussion of the rhyme in Beowulf is presented by Raymond Past who argues on the complex nature of the rhyme and of the lack of compromise between the scholars (Past).

By comparison, Tolkien argues that the entire construction of the poem in terms of literary elements was very well thought of. Thus, "Tolkien seeks to demonstrate that the Beowulf poet was a consummate artist working in a very difficult medium. To this purpose, he explains how meter and alliteration work together to form the scaffolding of the poem. In Beowulf, meter and alliteration are interdependent. The poet didn't just choose words that alliterated; he also had to place the alliteration on the syllables that bore the proper stress. The object was to achieve a balance between the first half of the line and the second, and finding just the right word was arduous work for the poet and a near-impossible labor for the translator." (Milner) Therefore, it can be argued that while the controversy over the exact literary means used in the poem remains, so does the interpretation of Tolkien that believes the structure, rhythm and rhyme were carefully chosen to transmit a more profound message that that of Latin or Greek literature to which Beowulf was most often associated.

Although the poem revolves around the idea of the brave warrior in the fight against his demons, the feminine presence is also of great importance.

There are three sets of women type identified in the poem (Porter): the women as hostesses, as peace waver and the woman as a monster. The woman as hostess has a back role in the sense that it represents the hidden action that is taking place in the poem. This type is identified in the characters of Wealhtheow and Hygd. They are calm, wise and mindful, thus maintaining the integrity of the poem. (Porter)

The second type is identified in the characters of Hildeburh, the example of a woman in her duty as a wife and royal blood. Finally, the monster is identified in the pair of women "Grendel's Mother and Thryth, are two very different types of monsters who act as counter-examples to the hostesses and peaceweavers" (Porter). All these types portray complex, yet defined type of female presence.

Robert Denis Fulk presents the woman in Beowulf as being correlated with that of the Anglo Saxon society. Thus, "the role of woman in Beowulf, as in Anglo Saxon society, primarily depends upon peace making either biologically through her marital ties with foreign kings as a peace pledge or mother of sons, or socially and psychologically as a cup passing and peace weaving queen within a hall" (Fulk, 1991). The role of Wealhtheow is precisely that of the peacemaker through her social presence, as she tries to unite the Danes and the Helmings (Fulk, 1991)

The role of the woman has always been crucial in the medieval poetry as well as the poetry and drama of the Renaissance. The most well-known love story between Romeo and Juliet portrays in one aspect the role of the woman in the society and in marriage; also, other feminine characters from Shakespearian plays such as "Hamlet" or "Othello" provide sufficient information to point out that even in "Beowulf" the role of the woman has always been portrayed in British literature in particular as the structure bone of the hero's reactions, initiatives, and strive.

Overall, it can be said that Beowulf represents an important piece of medieval literature. There are controversies surrounding its origins, the style used to depict the actions of Beowulf in his fights with the enemies. Another controversy regards the way in which the woman is portrayed in the lyrics as it is difficult to verify the connection between the way in which the woman is created in the poem and how such a character would be depicted centuries later. Yet, even so, it is an interesting and challenging literary work.


Bloom, Harold. "Bloom's Guides: comprehensive research and study guide." Infobase Publishing, New York, 2008.

Brown, Carleton. "Beowulf 1080-1106." Modern Language Notes (n.d.).

Cook, Albert Stanburrough. "Beowulf 1422." Modern Language Notes Vol. 39, No. 2 (Feb., 1924), pp. 77-82 (n.d.).

Fulk, Robert Dennis. "An Interpretation of Beowulf, a critical anthology." Indiana University Press, 1991, New York.

Niles, John. "Understanding Beowulf: Oral Poetry Acts ." The Journal of American Folklore Vol 106.420 (n.d.): 131-155.

Mezger, Fritz. "Two Notes on Beowulf ." Modern Language Notes (n.d.).

Milner, Liz. "Green Man Review." 201. J.R.R. Tolkien, the Monsters and the Critics. 26 March 2011 .

Past, Raymond E. "A note on the Rhythm of Beowulf." Modern Language Notes Vol. 64, No. 5 (May, 1949), pp. 310-311 (n.d.).

Porter, Dorothy Carr. " the Social Centrality of Women in Beowulf: A New Context." The Heroic Age 5…

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