Beowulf: Cultural Criticism
The epic poem “Beowulf” is a representation of how mankind has adopted a hypocritical mindset that allows themselves to kill and commit evil, while at the same time persecuting other groups for doing the same. Throughout the text itself, the Danes are known as a warrior race that controls and conquers other nations through violence and destruction, but they tell themselves that it is for the greater good and god has given them the right to do so. Though this is a fictional epic, it relates very closely to the history of the Roman Empire. They too dominated those around them with an iron fist, yet it alright because they believed they stood for God and held strong in the beliefs of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, just as Beowulf and the Danes believed that God had given them the right to conquer others. The culture of the Anglo-Saxon’s and Roman’s have since been lost to the sands of time in America’s very modern and technological society, but we can still see their influence all around us in our everyday lives. The culture of the Dane’s influenced Beowulf in how he believed a warrior should live and in the end this shaped the entire poem itself.
Throughout the epic, the Danes demonized the character Grendel, they called him a; monster, creature, evil, etc. “Suddenly then the God-cursed brute was creating havoc: greedy and grim, he grabbed thirty men from their resting places and rushed to his lair, flushed up and inflamed from the raid, blundering back with the butchered corpses.” (Lines 120-125) Many of their people believed he was evil because Grendel would come and murder senselessly without any remorse, the irony here is that the Danes did exactly the same thing to other nations and societies. They too would go and conquer for the sake of power and riches, just as this “creature” would come to feed and enjoyed the thrill of killing. The only difference between the two, other than appearance, is that the Danes believe that God...
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