Beowulf Motifs Essay

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 197
  • Published : February 27, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
In classic literature, one will often see traces of literary devices that enhance the reading fluency as well as entertainment for the reader. Often, the reader will enjoy literature because of the writer’s attention to bring humor, suspense, drama, and many more genres to life. In a narrative a motif is any recurring or consistent element/entity that has symbolic significance in a story. Through its repetition a motif can help produce other narrative or literary aspects such as a theme or mood. They are defined as “entities/symbols that reoccur throughout a literary work; sometimes appearing in multiple forms.” In the epic tale, Beowulf, many motifs bring together the characters and the plot. Consequently, three significant motifs that enhance its theme are loyalty, revenge, and envy.

One of the central themes of Beowulf, embodied by its title character, is loyalty. At every step of his career, loyalty is Beowulf's guiding virtue. Beowulf comes to the assistance of the Danes for complicated reasons. He is interested in increasing his reputation and gaining honor and payment. Beowulf does become king and rules with honor and fidelity to his office and his people for 50 years. In his final test, the burden of loyalty will rest on other, younger shoulders. Preparing for his last battle, with the fiery dragon, Beowulf puts his trust in 11 of his finest men, retainers who have vowed to fight to the death for him. Although the now elderly king insists on taking on the dragon alone, he brings along the 11 in case he needs them. When it is apparent that Beowulf is losing the battle to the dragon, however, all but one of his men run and hides in the woods. Only Wiglaf, an inexperienced thane who has great respect for his king, remains loyal. Wiglaf calls to the others, but realizing that they will be no help and that his king is about to be killed, he stands beside the old man to fight to the death theirs or the dragon's. For Beowulf, sadly, it is the end. Although he...
tracking img