Beowulf Essay

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Beowulf Essay
There are many metaphors for Beowulf’s sword, weapon, his hilt battle flame, the edge, his rare treasure, spiral patterned, precious in it class, shift and skel-edged all are references to his sword.

Personification: Beowulf’s circled sword screamed on her head a strident battle song.”(Lines 1521-1522)

This passage (lines 1513-1556) describes the battle between Beowulf and Grendel’s mother, “…this water-hag” (line1518). This monster’s femininity is very evident and her love for her son who had been conquered by Beowulf is understood. ‘She was down on this guest of hers and had drawn her knife, broad burnished of edge: for her boy was to be avenged, her only son.” (Lines 1545-1547)

Although obviously a monster, a ‘damned thing from the deep’ (line1519) the reader can understand her love for her vanquished son. She was unable to protect him in life but was determined to take revenge and kill Beowulf for the slaying of her loved one. This battle is more difficult for Beowulf to win as she proves to be a worthy opponent and towards the end of the passage she literally has the upper hand but her knife is unable to penetrate Beowulf’s chain mail protection. This is contrasted with Beowulf earlier striking her on the head but his weapon”…refused to bite.”(Line 1523) It may seem strange to an audience in the twenty-first century that Beowulf has this hand to hand combat with a female opponent as this does not seem brave or heroic and he is a seasoned and recognised fighter. In fact he is “...the strongest of fighting men..the firmest of foot warriors” (lines1543-1544). However Grendel’s mother is a worthy adversary and it is her passion, her anger, her lament of Grendel’s death that drives her on relentlessly It is unusual for a modern reader to contemplate a “prince”(line 1539) engaged in a battle to the death with a “mother”(line 1539) . The contrast between these two words is ironic. One evokes images of royalty, privilege,...