Dragon as a Metaphor

Topics: Beowulf, Anglo-Saxons, Grendel's mother Pages: 5 (1662 words) Published: January 14, 2013
Calvin Starbird Paragraph 1 (Intro):
The Epic Tale of the Dragonslaying Hero has been told a hundred times over. But where did the archetype start? Historians believe that the original Dragonslayer story was the English epic, Beowulf, written sometime between the eighth and eleventh centuries. The story of the Dragonslayer is that of a Hero, who starts off insignificant, but after his journey, is strong enough to face and defeat the evil Dragon. The Hero’s Journey is split into three phases; in order they are: Separation, Initiation, and the Return. The story of Beowulf was written for a specific purpose, other than creating a whole genre. The bards who wrote it as though it was a history, describing the past as the way things are when they wrote it. In a sense, they were trying to rewrite history. It was mainly written in an attempt to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity and change the governing style to Feudalism, among other things. Examples of this are their use of the Forest as a metaphor for Hell. Anglo-Saxon Paganism made the forest the home of their Gods, and the Bards needed to change that. Another element, is the role women play in society. The Bards made women out to be servants, rather than equal. Finally, the bards added Irony to improve the scenes in the story, as irony adds flair to the tale. Nowadays, our society knows that the forest is just a forest, and that women are equal to men, but those concepts put in place by the Bards, along with irony, still show up in our entertainment. You can find it in movies such as Howard McCain’s Outlander, Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Chris Columbus’ Harry potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Kenneth Branagh’s Thor. Through the use of the Dragonslaying Metaphor, the Hero’s Journey archetype, and elements such as the Forest being Hell, Women’s Place in Society, and Irony, the Bards of olde concocted an Epic perfect for changing the past and converting the Anglo-Saxons to a Feudal Christian society.

Connor True Paragraph 2 (Dragon/Hero/Treasure):
The cultural significance that Beowulf had on the Anglo-Saxons was very significant because it helped aid the spread of Christianity throughout medieval England. The treasure representing your soul, and the dragon being a guardian, or keeper of your soul recurs throughout contemporary film constantly. The dragon guarding the treasure to your soul can be observed in the following text “Beowulf, now an old man, faces his final task: He must fight a dragon who, angry because a thief has stolen a jeweled cup from the dragon’s hoard of gold, is laying waste to the Geats’ land. Beowulf and eleven warriors are guided to the dragon’s lair by the thief who stole the cup. For Beowulf the price of this last victory will be great.” this is significant to the Dragon being a metaphor for guarding the treasure of your soul, because in the last sentence “Beowulf the price of this last victory will be great.” the treasure, which may be gold, and riches could also be interpreted to refer his soul, and unlocking it from greed, lust, and sin. In the film “Kung Fu Panda” Po, the main character has battle through adversity to unlock his true power, after he gets the “dragon scroll”. In this clip: http://youtu.be/l06Rfyu05Ao Po battles Tai Lung, an evil tiger who seeks revenge on his master for not making him the dragon warrior.

Mollie Freel Paragraph 3 (Forest as Hell):
The metaphor that compares the forest to hell can be found in almost every story following the hero’s journey. The forest can represent any place that can be compared to a type of hell, where an evil character or the devil lives. For example, in the poem of Beowulf, the monster, Grendel, lives far away from people. He lives away from the town inside a dark cave in the forest. In order to survive it was necessary for the civilians to live together in an area not close to Grendel’s evil home. In the beginning of the story, Grendel...
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