Epic Poetry and Beowulf

Topics: Beowulf, Epic poetry, Hero Pages: 2 (674 words) Published: February 28, 2007

Epic Poems revolve around the beliefs and culture of a society, they tell stories of strength and courage. Many epics are based on the morale's of man, however tend to be unrealistic in nature. Epic Heroes, Elevated Language, and Anglo-Saxon values define the epic poem Beowulf about Anglo-Saxon culture and its hero. Beowulf is an epic hero who portrays characteristics that idol a particular society. He finds him-self faced with struggles, which he conquers by making quests of nobility. ". . . Proclaiming that he'd go to that famous king,/" Beowulf, "Would sail across the sea to Hrothgar,/Now when [his] help was needed" (Beowulf 114-116). This shows Beowulf's selflessness and loyalty toward mankind. He also astonishes people with the brave deeds he performs, ". . . alone and with the help of [his] men,/[he] [purged] all evil from Herot." (165-166). By restoring peace to Herot, Beowulf gained the respect of Hrothgar and the Danes. As most epic heroes, Beowulf is a strong and responsible leader. ". . . [he] rose, still strong,/ and with his shield at his side, and a mail shirt on his breast,/ strode calmly, confidently, toward the tower,"(688-690) with his intentions clear he "roared out a battle cry,"(701) and awakened the dragon. Not knowing if fate was on his side he continued, toxic smoke encircling him, never looking back. The epic language is often elevated, heroic and descends from a particular origin. Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in words that are close to one another. For example "Great bodies beating at its beautiful walls;"(454) has a repetition of b's. This allows the reader to envision Beowulf and Grendels bodies colliding into the great walls of Herot. Kennings are metaphorical phrases or compounds used to name a person, place, or thing. In the poem Beowulf, Hrothgar is referred to as the "ring-giver" (341), and his wife Welthow is named the "gold-ringed queen" (346). These kennings are used to express the wealth...
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