Epic Poetry and Beowulf

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British Literature
Beowulf Character Analysis

Beowulf
Beowulf is an epic poem set in Scandinavia during the sixth century. This epic was originally handed down through generations in spoken form by traveling minstrels. It was finally put in writing during the eleventh century. The poem reflects the culture of the time and the Anglo Saxon era. Beowulf is well known in Great Britain as a hero and great warrior. Beowulf exemplifies the traits of the Anglo-Saxon warrior code which include courage, confidence, and pride.

Beowulf is a very courageous character and recounts his acts of courage to every person who will listen. In the poem Beowulf tells of his previous courageous actions in destroying a tribe of giants, defeating sea monsters in the night and returning from battle covered in his enemies blood. Beowulf has come to King Hrothgar to fight an ogre. A monster that has brought misery and death to the Danes for many years. This ogre, Grendel, killed thirty of Hrothgar’s men and caused the great mead hall of Herot to be closed. Beowulf tells King Hrothgar “the monster’s scorn of men Is so great that he needs no weapons and fears none. Nor will I” (lines 262-264) Therefore Beowulf intends to fight the Grendel without his armor or his sword. Beowulf may be so courageous because he believes so strongly in fate shaping his successes in the past. Beowulf believes that if it is his fate to win against Grendel then he will win. If it is his fate to die

during the fight then that is just as God plans it to be. He tells the King that “my hands Alone shall fight for me, struggle for life Against the monster. God must decide Who will be given to death’s cold grip”(lines. 267-269). Beowulf will accept death if it is his fate. Beowulf does fight Grendel and wins. Then Beowulf must fight Grendel’s mother who is seeking revenge for her son’s death. These battles are described in detail as brutal and savage. Beowulf kills both monsters despite their...
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