Beowulf Essay

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Epic Poetry of Beowulf
Although it is often viewed as the model Anglo-Saxon literary work and as a foundation of modern literature, Beowulf has an odd history that complicates both its historical and its recognized place in English literature. By the time the story of Beowulf was composed by an unknown Anglo-Saxon poet (in around 700 a.d.) much of its material had been in movement in the oral native for many years. Many elements of Beowulf date back to the period of the migration of the Anglo-Saxons to Britain. The action of the poem takes place around 500 a.d. Which some of the characters in the poem correspond to some historical figures. Though still an old Anglo-Saxon story, Beowulf was told by a Christian poet. Therefore the Beowulf we read today is more than likely very different from the Beowulf that the first Anglo-Saxon audiences were familiar with.

In the poem, the plot is extremely complex when it comes to an overview. King Hrothgar of Denmark, a descendant of the great king Shield Sheafson, enjoys a wealthy and successful time in power. He builds a great Mead-Hall, called Herot, where his warriors can gather to drink, receive gifts from their lord, and listen to the stories of the scops. But the thrilled noise from Herot angers Grendel, an awful demon who lives in the swamplands of Hrothgar’s kingdom. Grendel terrorizes the Danes every night, killing them and defeating their efforts to fight back. The Danes suffer fear, danger and death for many many years. Eventually however, a young Geatish warrior named Beowulf hears Hrothgar’s trouble, inspired by the challenge, Beowulf sails to Denmark determined to defeat Grendel. And while defeating Grendel, he has many other supernatural beings to defeat as well.

Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary piece of work. In the poem Beowulf, there are three main themes, the importance of the foundation of the identity, the tensions between the heroic code and the...
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