Nowadays, there are many action movies where a hero is thrown into numerous physically challenging feats. These movies are always interesting to watch, and unfortunately it is rare to find a poem that captures that same success. However, the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf proves otherwise. The poem is a timeless thriller, about a courageous hero battling against evil demons and impossible brawls. Each battle seems to be more exhilarating than the last, most of which comes from the outstanding setting. Without the setting, Beowulf would not have the same thrill; the setting helps set up the dramatic effects of each battle.
Beowulf was constantly taking on spectacular and adventurous challenges. His uprising fame was beginning to strike jealousy into the soul of one of the King’s advisors, named Unferth. Unferth became so envious towards him that he taunted Beowulf relentlessly and mocked him one evening in Heorot Hall. Unferth told the whole hall how Beowulf had once lost a swimming competition against Breca, and how he would most likely lose to Grendel. With confidence, Beowulf deflects Unferth’s remarks and begins to tell the epic story of the swim match. Beowulf first describes the harsh conditions he had to face the entire match, telling Unferth about, “the long flow and pitch of the waves, the perishing cold…winds from the north tore [Breca and I] up” (Beowulf 545). According to Beowulf, the match took place during a blistery, violent storm, making it much harder to swim. Since the battle was a dramatic scene and extremely strenuous, it is imperative to know the setting so the reader can recognize how heroic Beowulf really was. The setting of this battle would prove to Unferth how extremely thrilling the fight was.
Beowulf’s first battle would be the struggle that would prove to everyone how mighty he truly was. The title character heard about the wretched demon that was terrorizing the famous Heorot Hall and was determined to conquer...
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