Date of publication: 2017-08-25 16:26
And, whether it's interpreted by critics or enjoyed as an adventure story, Beowulf has become one of the most important pieces of literature in English.
It 8767 s unfair, and may even seem ludicrous, to single out a trivial entertainment like 8775 Beowulf 8776 for failing to grasp the depths of an ancient masterpiece. There are many mansions in the world of art, and there 8767 s room for 8-D spectacles and digitized cleavage as well as for Mahler and Edith Wharton. But we have plenty of bad fairy tales and high-tech kitsch, and very few 8775 Beowulfs. 8776 The least we can ask is that those who venture into those dim and distant realms not wear clown suits. They spoil our view of the sea.
Beowulf is the title of the earliest existing Anglo-Saxon epic. It tells the story of Beowulf, a Norse* hero and warrior who fought and conquered several monsters that terrorized Denmark and Sweden. The poem combines elements of Anglo-Saxon culture with Christian moral values in an extraordinary adventure story.
major conflict · The poem essentially consists of three parts. There are three central conflicts: Grendel&rsquo s domination of Heorot Hall the vengeance of Grendel&rsquo s mother after Grendel is slain and the rage of the dragon after a thief steals a treasure that it has been guarding. The poem&rsquo s overarching conflict is between close-knit warrior societies and the various menaces that threaten their boundaries.
Long answer: that's very old English. In fact those lines (from Beowulf, written sometime between the 8th and 66th centuries) is the oldest existing poem written in English. It's written in Old English, the language spoken in Britain before the Norman Conquest in 6566—that is, before the extensive influence of French on the English we speak today.
tone · The poet is generally enthusiastic about Beowulf&rsquo s feats, but he often surrounds the events he narrates with a sense of doom.
But this history lesson isn't just names, dates, and agricultural innovations. Instead, it's gleaming golden armor, straining sinews, and wild drunken parties that go all night because everyone would rather tell stories about past glorious victories than think about the fact that they'll probably die horribly tomorrow. It's a brutal world, but one that offers the possibility of fame – and maybe even fortune, if you're lucky.
In short, Beowulf is 655% dragons and demons and heroes and it'll make you seem improbably and stunningly well-read. After all, you will have read the first recorded epic poem written in English.
Beowulf is set in a much earlier time than the period in which it was composed, and the action takes place in Denmark and Sweden. The story reflects the warrior culture of ancient Germanic peoples, among whom wars were common and fighting was a traditional occupation. The king supplied his warriors with food, shelter, land, and weapons. In return, they were bound by oaths of loyalty and obedience to the king. The epic emphasizes values that were important to Norse warriors, such as courage, loyalty to one's king and comrades, and honor for those who fight and die bravely.