Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics by J. R. R Tolkien
J. R. R Tolkien, mastermind of the bestselling works The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, also created the “most important article on Beowulf of the 20th century’’ stated by Oxford University Press. His work Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics, begins with a well thought out allegory about the industry of critiquing poems and stories. It is followed by a buddle of good and bad views from critics on Beowulf. Finally he gives his take on the works of Beowulf.
Tolkien’s allegory demonstrates that by picking apart the work of art, critics loose parts of the story, missing the bigger picture. Also, those critics are going through Beowulf, for instance, with a modern look at it. This causes the loss of some of the history the poem holds. The author of Beowulf could have written it to be a good enjoyable story without an underlying meaning to it. Critics now have altered the story to be a heroic epic with symbolism. Relying on this article Beowulf, may have been critiqued into a whole different work due to the new industry. The allegory plainly states his views on the new criticisms.
Critics are like politicians in the fact that they have varied opinions and also contradicted themselves. Tolkien collects the heart of the critics doing the exact thing. The critics go from stating that Beowulf ‘is a work of genius’ to some saying that it is ‘weak in construction’. Regardless of critics’ views on this poem, it should be respected as a historical art form. I feel that some critics forget that and base their opinions on the present day forgetting that time has changed along with the literature.
Tolkien eludes in his article that Beowulf ‘is religiously confused’; containing the ever popular Christian believes with the semi-pagan views, with the character choices and also the native traditions of the “Anglo-Saxon” people. He goes on to say that the poem is beneficially because it shows a softer less violent...
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