September 27th, 2012
“No better king had ever lived, no prince so mild, no man so open to his people, so deserving of praise.” This is an ultimate description of the heroic events of Beowulf, an old Anglo-Saxon poem about a warrior who battles and destroys three horrifying monsters. Although written long ago, the emotions expressed within this work, emotions of bravery, valor, and ethics still speak to us centuries later. The anonymous author of the poem convinces us through the masterful use of various literary elements that emphasize its meaning and message. Conflict, imagery and setting are three literary elements that contribute to the effectiveness of the poem.
The use of conflict aids us to visualize the struggles between Beowulf and his opposing forces. To begin with, we are first introduced to Beowulf’s strength as we read lines 390-392; “and the bleeding sinew deep in [Grendel’s] shoulder snapped, muscle and bone split and broke.” This first battle exemplifies the readers respect towards Beowulf; this clearly demonstrates that the readers are in fact in awe of Beowulf’s strength and capability to fight Grendel with his bare hands. Furthermore in the story, we learn that Grendel’s mother “rose at once” and “repaid [Beowulf] with her clutching claws” (lines 513-517). This passage shows the readers, not only the struggle but, the effort Beowulf put forward to defeating Grendel’s mother in the hopes of glorification to his people and maintaining his pride. Finally, in lines 768-775, we read, “I swear that nothing ever did deserve an end like this…. As he dove through the dragon’s deadly fumes.” This final battle grants the readers with the logic of suspense. This is an epic scene because it is shown to the readers that Beowulf is indeed aware that this is his final battle meaning, with or without help, he would have to go to ultimate ends in order to complete his mission of defeating the dragon. Finally, these...
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