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Beowulf Essay Topics & Paper Examples

Hamlet vs. Beowulf

How do the protagonists from Beowulf and Hamlet compare? Though both play a major role in an epic story, they share a few common viewpoints. The outcome of both stories is greatly influenced by the main character’s struggles in life. The situations that occur throughout these stories also impact the narratives. In addition, the various characters in each work influence the protagonists’ choices and lives. Each is involved in themes which can easily relate to those of modern day society, although Beowulf and Hamlet live in completely different times. Beowulf is the ideal warrior; he is a strong, fearless fighter and a fantastic leader who goes to immutable extremes to protect his people. When his country is threatened by what…

Beowulf Question

8) Does the Green Knight play by the rules of courtesy? Is he ultimately a negative or a positive figure? The Green Knight plays by the rules of courtesy. The Green Knight keeps to his word and is loyal, which is a big aspect to keeping with the rules of courtesy. He shows this when he first explains the game to Sir Gawain. The Green Knight game allows Gawain to take the first swing at him, “Now hold your grim tool steady And show us how it hacks.” (ln.412-413). He makes sure that Sir Gawain understands the rules and that he will stick to the game, as the Green Knight will too. This is shown when he repeats the part…

Good vs. Evil

Beowulf is a long narrative between good and evil. Throughout Beowulf, it was shown that two opposites could not peacefully live. Beowulf is divided into three parts, each centers around Beowulf fight with a particular monster: first Grendel, then Grendel’s Mother, and last the Dragon. Each monster presents a specific moral challenge. Beowulfs fight with Grendel brings to mind the importance of character as a means of expanding one’s survival past death. Beowulfs battle with Grendels mother was all about retaliation. Just as Beowulf wanted revenge at Grendel for killing Hrothgar’s men. So Grendel mother thought she could get rid of her sorrow by slaying her son’s murderer. Beowulfs last fight with the dragon represents a heroic approach to fate….

Good and Evil and Beowulf

Beowulf is the most famous epic of the Anglo-Saxon period. This is a story of an epic hero who fights against the most sinister monsters known to man. Beowulf and Grendel are the main characters of this tale; they are the perfect example of good versus evil, light versus dark, and hero versus villain. Beowulf is the story all epic hero stories have followed; the Beowulf with his hero qualities goes head to head with Grendel. Heroes and villains share a lot of qualities but a number of key characteristics set them apart. Heroes as well as villains above all are abnormal; they share their own specific goals and are often very intelligent and capable of achieving what they want…

Good vs. Evil

Review of Knowledge- NR 291 Chapters 2-7, 36 & 37; Part 1 Chapter 2: Pharmacologic Principles “Any chemical that affects the physiologic processes of a living organism can broadly be defined as a drug. The study or science of drugs is known as pharmacology. Without understanding basic pharmacologic principles, the nurse cannot fully appreciate the therapeutic benefits and potential toxicity of drugs. Drugs are grouped together based on their similar properties. This is known as a drug classification. Drugs can be classified by their structure (e. g. , beta-adrenergic blockers) or by their therapeutic use (e. g. , antibiotics, antihypertensives, antidepressants). Within the broad classification, each class may have subclasses; for example, penicillins are a subclass within the group of…

Nihilism and Existentialism in Grendel

Nihilism, as well as existentialism and a host of other philosophies are boldly explored in Grendel, a novel by John Gardner. The antagonist Grendel travels on a journey of self-discovery, eventually becoming a nihilist, only to be gallantly disproved by the hero Beowulf. In the end Gardner proves that the virtues of individuality and meaning triumph over meaningless violence and destruction. While Gardner presents countless philosophies and thoughts in Grendel, the two most prominent are nihilism and existentialism. The monster Grendel begins life as an existentialist. After leaving his mother’s cave, he is introduced to a vast, confusing world. As a defense against the rest of the universe, Grendel establishes existentialism as his philosophy. Grendel is initially confused about the…

True Standards of a Hero

George Washington, Marilyn Monroe, Muhammad Ali, and even Taylor Swift have been proven to be heroes in today’s culture. Long before any of these individuals walked the Earth, the story of a man exhibiting what a true hero of epic proportions really is. Beowulf, a poem in British literature from the eighth century, showcases the concept of real heroism. Beowulf, a Geat who provides the real qualities of a dominate hero, travels to Herot to protect the kingdom of King Hrothgar. Beowulf will find himself battling with monsters that represent evil, the devil, and depths of Hell. The people of the kingdom are, at first, nervous of having a man fight the monster, Grendel, but are soon proven that Beowulf…

Beowulf: The Man, the Legend, the Hero

Beowulf is an epic poem whose earliest surviving copy was written in 1000 A.D. The story consists of three thousand one hundred and eighty two lines that follow the life of the title character. The original author of the epic poem is unknown mainly because it started as a verbal tale passed down orally through the ages. Finally someone wrote it down in a document now called the Nowell Codex. The epic tale is centered on Beowulf and his actions in an adventure to repay a debt owed by his father to Hrothgar, a Danish king. A gargantuan monster that is terrorizing Hrothgar’s mead hall is Beowulf’s target and Beowulf sails across the sea to aid his father’s friend. Doesn’t…

Nobility and Beowulf

Epics have been written and told orally for hundreds of years. A typical epic usually contains challenges, journeys, adventures and most importantly, a hero. An epic hero has several characteristics that make him unique. First of all, he or she usually comes from a noble family, which means, a noble birth. Also, they tend to have superhuman strength and accomplish beyond human deeds. A must in all Epic stories is that this hero must go on a quest in search of something. This quest, also known as a journey, holds several challenges and unexpected turns that the hero must overcome. Beowulf, an epic hero, is a fantastic example and fits the standards perfectly of an epic hero. He is noble,…

Fear and Immensely Powerful Body

In This Descriptive essay, I will be writing about the Monster “Grendel,’ from the story of Beowulf. I will be giving details about him, while he is in action in a scene of the story, which will lead to my conclusion of why I believe he is a coward, a horrible monster, & above all, an obmination. Prepared to spill the blood of unsuspecting, drunken warriors in their sleep, Grendel quickly broke doen the reinforced door to the Herot with great strength and viciousness. Grendel’s strides were expansive. With each step, the monster’s huge, feet practically flew, one after the other. The floor seemed to be instantly displaced due to his impressive agility. “His eyes gleamed in the darkness, burned…

Beowulf Comprehension Questions

Please be sure that you answer in complete sentences using quotes from the text to support your responses. After reading Section 1: 1. What role does Hrothgar play in the epic? -The role that Hrothgar played in the epic was the role of the king. 2. Who/what is causing so much grief in Hrothgar’s kingdom? -Grendel, the monster, was causing a lot of grief in the kingdom. “How Grendel wasn’t about to stop, or pay damages.” 3. How many years has this battle with Grendel been going on? -The battle with Grendel had been going for twelve years. 4. What attempts have been made to rid the land of this beast? -The council attempted to plan many attacks against Grendel….

Old English Poem: Beowulf

Old English is a term to refer to the language and the literature spoken and written in Britain during the time between the coming of the Anglo-Saxons to Britain in the fifth century and the Norman Conquest in 1066. There are many tribes such as the Picts, Jutes, Scotes invaded Britain, this resulted in the mixing of several races, tongues and cultures. But the West Germanic tribes known as the Anglo-Saxon were the most influential tribes during this period. The Anglo-Saxons were warrior-farmers and came from north-western Europe. They began to invade Britain while the Romans were still in control. The Anglo-Saxons were tall, fair-haired men, armed with swords and spears and round shields. Their skills are hunting, farming, cloth…

Grendel Analysis

Grendal is an evil monster, or maybe that is what the poet wants his readers to think. The poet’s use of sensory images, emotive words, and kennings to paint a picture that Grendal is a monster, but this is only an illusion. To begin with, tone helps the poet display Grendal as a monster, not a human. The first example is from lines 407-8, “He strode quickly across the inlaid/floor, snarling and fierce.” This quote shows Grendal making snarling noises, only those a monster would make. This only just establishes the illusion. The second example is from line 428, “Clutched at Beowulf with his claws.” In this quote, Grendal is shown to have claws, something a human does not have,…

Beowulf, Faustus and Paradise Lost

In Beowulf, Faustus and Paradise Lost undergo a religious transition, from Paganism to Christianity, Christianity to Reformation and Rebel. These changes aptly reflect the historical shift from a boastful and violent view to a more humble and meritorious perspective. We see a shift in consciousness from the writers point of view, beginning during the Medieval epic poem Beowulf and trace the religious shift in this consciousness between Beowulf and Paradise Lost. It can be seen in these texts, (including Faustus) that although Christianity was very much a powerful model against which society was built in the Middle Ages, it is also contradictory in many ways. William Shakespeare is known for his writings on Denmark for his work in Hamlet and…

Themes in Beowulf

From the beginning of Beowulf we are able to understand and see the central themes and points that are being focused on. From the assigned readings of Beowulf and after finishing the entire piece I found it stuck with its major theme in which we are given from the prologue of the story. From the start of the story we are able to identify with Scyld Scefing and his role as king and leader. Power plays a major role and theme throughout the entire story which allows the story to flow well and keep the theme strong and intriguing to the readers. I found that the major themes within this whole story revolve around the idea of power, legacy ,…

Explore the Construction of Identiy in Hamlet and Beowulf

“’Identity has been increasingly used to refer to the social and historical make-up of a person, personality as a construct. Sometimes such identities are conceived narrowly psychological, individualist terms, as the cumulative result of personal experience and family history” This is seen particularly in Beowulf where all men are referred to as their fathers’ sons’. Family history was massively important in those times and men well often well respected because of the heroic things their ancestors had done. Warriors also felt the need to reach the same level of notoriety. This is shown when we are first introduced to Beowulf. We are told about his father before even knowing his name: “In his day, my father was a famous man…

The Role of Fame, Fate, and Destiny in Beowulf

Beowulf dedicated his last breath to save his people from the ravages of a deadly monster.  Despite the frailties of old age, he hastened once more to save the day.  Unfortunately, the terrible earth dragon was too much for him.  Beowulf succumbed to his wounds and died.  The last lines of this great Anglo Saxon epic was a tribute to him, “Thus the men of Geatland, his hearth-companions, mourned their hero’s passing, and said that of all the kings of the earth, he was the mildest and most belovéd of his men; kindest to his kin, and the most eager for praise (Beowulf 52)”. There is no doubt whatsoever that Beowulf was a man who wanted to achieve lasting fame. …

Beowulf and The Modern Day Hero

A hero does something for the greater good of mankind. A hero is courageous and brave in any situation. Beowulf and Irena Sendler a social worker who smuggled over 2,500 Jewish out of harms way put their lives on the line to protect their mankind. While each warriors have their differences both believe in courage and triumphing over evil. In his final battle Beowulf goes up against a dragon that take a whole army to defeat. Caught up in his courageous high Beowulf does not realize the feat that lies ahead of him. Beowulf describes, “scant regard for the dragon as a threat, no dread at all of its courage or strength, for he kept going often in the past”…

Beowulf and Illiad

Stories like Beowulf and the Iliad seem hard to believe, far-fetched, and exaggerated even though they can relate to a cultures past. Even so, both stories have great examples of fighting, victory, and glory. “Now though I may win my perfect glory…” (Line 64 Homer) This quote helps show the desire Achilles has for glory. “I’ve never known fear, as a youth I fought in endless battles. I am old, now, but I will fight again, seek fame still, if the dragon hiding in his tower dares to face me. (Line 607-611 Beowulf Poet) This quote shows Beowulf has a similar desire for fame and glory, along with the confidence to be victorious. Both relate the tales of a hero,…

Beowulf

Epic heroes usually exemplify traits most admire in their societies, and Beowulf is no exception. Beowulf is set in the Anglo-Saxon society, a time when war was common between people trying to conquer different kingdoms in England. Also, during that time Christianity and pagan views were popular. There were various Christian references and elements that can be interpreted within the text. An example of this is the reference to the biblical figure Cain being a related figure to a despise of the kingdom. Beowulf is successful in upholding both the heroic and Christian ideals. Beowulf has the traditional characteristics of an epic hero. Even though he is famous for his massive strength, he has other attributes that are noticeable other…

Beowulf

When Beowulf dies, the Geats dwell upon his greatness. They see him as a hero, not just because of the things he accomplished, but because of the sacrifices he made for them. The character, Beowulf, is a classic example of someone who fights for pride and glory. He is a brave warrior who is trying to repay his father’s debts to the king of Denmark. Beowulf is a tragic hero because he is noble, has a tragic flaw that leads to his downfall, and sacrifices himself for the good of his people. The achievements that Beowulf accomplishes make the people believe in him as a tragic hero. To be noble, one has to possess power and authority, but still fulfill…

Anglo-Saxon Values Demonstrated by Beowulf

In Seamus Heaney’s translation of the epic Beowulf, the protagonist, Beowulf, exemplifies the values of an Anglo-Saxon warrior and king. Beowulf is a Geatish warrior who uses his super-human strength to defend the Danes, a neighboring kingdom, from a terrible monster named Grendel. Beowulf then goes on to kill Grendel’s mother and become the king of the Geats. During his reign, Beowulf runs a successful kingdom and sacrifices his life to save his kingdom from a dragon. Beowulf demonstrates the Anglo-Saxon values of physical strength, a thirst for revenge, and courage, through the manner in which he fights various battles and his motives for fighting them. Beowulf’s extraordinary physical strength is displayed during his battle with Grendel, a powerful monster…

The role of religion in Beowulf

The epic poems Beowulf was first written in a pagan Saxon society, before Christianity was introduced. However, the poem was once again rewritten around the 18th centuries by a Christian poet. There is evidence of this throughout Beowulf as the author is in conflict when it comes to mix his Christian belief with the pagan society of Beowulf. When I look at the text, I see two different element of religion mixed together as one. As a result, this leads to frequent biblical allusion and references to God, Cain, heaven, hell and “creator”. In Beowulf, the author has combined the warrior fighting society of Anglo-Saxon with the belief of faith of Christianity and skillfully woven them in this epic poem…

Symbolism Associated with Beowulf

Symbolism Associated with Beowulf Beowulf is portrayed as a very loyal character in this poem. He shows his complete loyalty towards the Danes, and his willingness to fight for what his beliefs are. He fights to protect the Danes from Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and Firedragon. Beowulf sides with the protagonists to fight evil monsters causing harm towards other men (Wilmot 137). Although Beowulf is a Geat, not a Dane, he still shows his loyalty to help good prevail over evil. Showing his belief to help the Danes in their time of need, Beowulf risks his life to protect them. Beowulf’s loyalty is more towards the protection of all humanity, not just the Danes. When news reaches Beowulf of Grendel’s terrorism,…

Beowulf compare and contrast essay

Any cinematic rendition of a popular book, epic, or legend would, undoubtedly, bring about various inconsistencies and differences from the original. In fact, the main point of using two different kinds of media such as writing and cinematography would make it difficult for the messages, the metaphor, and even the style to be delivered as compared from the original into the rendition. In fact, considering that the work that is being considered down his Beowulf — the original Anglo-Saxon epic and the 2007 film rendition — where in it is not even a direct prose literary style but rather constructed with the structure of poetry, and an epic one at that, would provide a force various difficulties. One significant difference…

The Funerals of Sclyd and Beowulf

The opening of the Beowulf is the funeral of Sclyd, his clan is preparing him for his funeral and sending his body to God, As they prepare him for his voyage, I use this as an important word because as we continue to read of the grief of his clan we find out that they instead of a funeral pyre as was common in some cultures of the time that his clan filled the ship with the bounty from as it said far and wide. Setting him out to sea upon a ship or barge as it is also referred to in this passage. It is interesting that this is the way the clan set their beloved Lord to his…

Christianity and Paganism in Beowulf

The literature of a period is often regarded as the purest manifestation of the social, political, and cultural atmosphere of a particular era. At a crossroads, often than not, these works narrate the development of a culture besieged by new ideas and influences. Considered as the earliest extant poem in a modern European language, the Germanic epic entitled Beowulf is a clear example of how two warring cultural ideologies are melded together to create a population’s own unique social identity. Peppered with pagan images of magic and monsters, one would almost immediately assume that the poem was created as an account of heroism in the likes of Greek myths and epics, but it is easy to acknowledge that the over-arching…

Comparing and Contrasting Beowulf and Odysseus

The characters of Beowulf and Odysseus can be considered a contrast between ice and fire wherein one and is violent and uses its strength to consume and subdue while the other is cool and calculating preferring a patient yet affective approach to solving problems. When referring to the characteristics of fire and ice I am referring to Beowulf as fire and Odysseus as ice this is due to the fact that Beowulf uses his brute strength and force of will to combat his foes while Odysseus uses his cunning and wit to trick his foes into submissions. Analysis of Beowulf In the epic of Beowulf, he conquers and defeats 3 enemies, first is Grendel, then the mother of Grendel then…

One of the major characteristics that Beowulf and Hamlet

One of the major characteristics that Beowulf and Hamlet share is the fact that they both rid Denmark of a treacherous monster who poses a serious threat to the land. Beowulf uses his warrior-like skills to fight and conquer a physical monster who literally haunts the swamps outside the state and plagues it with murderous acts. Hamlet’s monster is also one who commits murderous acts, though this is in the form of his uncle Claudius who kills the King (Hamlet’s father) and usurps the Danish throne. The two men, Hamlet and Beowulf, are thrown into these battles as youth, and both take on the challenge willingly. In fact, Beowulf travels from Geatland specifically to meet the challenge of fighting Grendel….

Violence in the poem “Beowulf”

Throughout time civilizations have used violence as a means of creating, establishing, and maintaining their world, and it was looked at as something that was necessary and important to their way of life. The role of violence in the world of “Beowulf”, King of the Geats reflects this because we can easily see how important it is for Beowulf to use violence in his quest for respect and success. This is seen in the way that Beowulf gains his power by fighting the monster Grendel and his mother. The way to accomplish something of importance in the eyes of the men of these civilizations was to prove your worth through your battles and your fighting. The role of violence in…