Beowulf: Characteristics of Epic Poem Essay
Epic poems have many characteristics. Beowulf, which was an epic poem, followed these characteristics. Beowulf had a basic theme of good versus evil, was written in a formal type of language, and it reflected the values of society.
Beowulf had a central theme of good versus evil. Hrothgar, leader and king of the Danes, wanted to get rid of a monster that was killing his people, but he couldn’t. The monster killed his people for twelve years. Then, Beowulf, who was the main character, protagonist, and a warrior of the Geats, was introduced. He heard of the monster, Grendel, who was terrorizing the Danes and their king, Hrothgar (90-94). Beowulf then went to the Danes’ land and fought Grendel. Beowulf defeated Grendel and ripped Grendel’s shoulder off his body. Grendel ran away to his lake, where he later died. Beowulf, after Grendel runs off, hung Grendel’s shoulder from the ceiling as a trophy. After Beowulf leaves, Grendel’s mother terrorizes The Danes’ land and comes back to kill her. He does so with a giant, mystical sword (269-497). Beowulf returns back to his homeland where he ruled for fifty years (580-591). While he rules, there is a dragon that started terrorizing his lands. He fought the beast and slew it with the help of his only loyal guard, Wiglaf. Beowulf then dies after the battle from a wound (590-1043). Beowulf, Hrothgar, and these beasts resembled good versus evil in this epic poem.
Beowulf was written in a formal type of language. Alliteration and kenning were part of this formal language. Alliteration is where a line has at least two words that begin with the same consonant sound. Most lines of this epic poem had alliteration. For example, “Made in home in a hell…” (18), “Out of all men on earth, one greater…” (144), arm, claw and shoulder and all (395), “To free his weapon and failed. The fight…” (435), “But now the dragon hid nothing, neither…” (598), and “Shields, and shining mail shirts…”...
Cited: Wilhelm, Jeffery D., Douglas Fisher, Beverly Ann Chin, and Jacqueline Jones Royster. "The Epic Warrior." Beowulf. Columbus: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2010. 19-52. Print.
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