Beowulf the Epic Poem Beowulf Consists of Reaction Paper

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The epic poem Beowulf consists of two distinct parts held together by the person of the hero. These two parts balance each other, demonstrating a heroic life in youth and old age. Briefly the poem begins with Hrothgar, King of the Danes, who is terrorized by Grendel, a monster who comes night after night for twelve years to carry off and devour the vassals of Herot. Beowulf of Geats hears of the monster and resolves to defeat the monster. When Grendel comes a Beowulf defeats the monster in hand to hand combat tearing off an arm. The next night Grendel's mother comes to avenge his death killing one of Hrothgar's counselors. Beowulf follows her to the sea bottom and eventually slays the woman monster. Beowulf leaves Herot a hero and returns to Geats and becomes king of his own people. After fifty years under his rule Geats is put upon by a fire-spewing dragon and Beowulf resolves to kill him. In the battle that follows both Beowulf and the dragon are slain. The poem ends with a tribute to Beowulf's bravery, goodness, gentleness, and generosity.


The poem stresses the Germanic heroic code. Rebecca Tierny-Hynes notes the Anglo-Saxon epic, particularly the Germanic heroic poetry, has been interpreted as modeling the role of the warrior-king for contemporary rulers. The poetry is meant to teach the continuity and transmission of heroic values so that those in authority might see their obligations and responsibilities, gain political wisdom, and learned useful lessons about current moral sanctions governing behavior in general, and heroic conduct in particular. These values encompass strength, courage, and loyalty in warriors, hospitality, generosity, and political skill in kings, ceremoniousness in women, and good reputation in all people. This code is vital to warrior societies as a means of understanding their relationships to the world and the menaces lurking beyond their…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

"Beowulf." Kushner-Locke Company and Capitol Films. European Motion Pictures Produtions LTD, 1999. YouTube. Web. 31 January 2013.

Hall, Lesslie (Trans.). Beowulf: An Anglo-Saxon Epic Poem." Boston, New York, Chicago: D.C. Heath & Co., 1892. Web. 1 February 2013.

Tierny-Hynes, Rebecca A. The Heroic Ethos: Reality and Representation. 2000. Web. 1 February 2013.

Mayhew, Robert J. "Malthus and the Seven Billion." History Today, Vol 62, Issue 2, February 2012: 4-5. EBSOC. Web. 28 October 2012.

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