Old English Epic Poem - Beowulf

Beowulf is a Old English epic poem that has 3,000 lines and makes up 10 percent of the entire corpus of extant Old English literature. It was the only substantial extant of Old English poem that addressed pangan than any christian matter(Smith). Beowulf had the highest achievement of a old english literature and was the earliest European Vernacular epic. It had been around early 6th century and believed to have been composed between the 700 and 750. Some believe that there is no evidence of the real historical Beowulf but the characters, sites, and events in the poem isn’t historically verified and the poem didn’t appear in print until the 1815.

The date of the composition had a big disagreement among scholars but only certain of the manuscript had been produced between 975 and 1025 (Adonisebooks-1823). The dating has been confirmed by archaeological excavations of the barrows indicated by Snorri (Sturlusionpg-214) The author was a unknown Anglo-Saxon poet and was referred to by scholars as “Beowulf poet”(Revolvy-1829).

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Some used Alliteration rather than the endings of words, making the first half link and the second. The story is taken place in Scandinavia and where Beowulf is the hero of the geats helps Hrothgar in mead hall in the heorot. Which it has been attacked from a monster known as Grendel. Then Beowulf slays Grendel which causes him to die and after Grendel his death, his mother came to attack the hall and then was defeated. After coming home, Beowulf has both of Grendel and Grendel’s mother heads to celebrate on a victory and also became King of the Geats.

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After Fifty years, Beowulf had to face a dragon from a lair and which was very wounded in battle. After his death, his allies had to burn his body and build a tower on a headland in his honor. The full story survives in the manuscript known as the Nowell Codex(Hall-pg20). Icelandic Scholar Grimur Thorkelin made the first transcription of the man script and 1786 and he published it in 1815(Thorkelin). Thorkelin transcripts still remaining price secondary source for Beowulf Scholars.

The manuscript said to be around the year 1000 but it has been said that it’s been debated during the printing(britannica.com). The original manuscript had no title but it had been recognize to many people and had been named from the main protagonist Beowulf. Beowulf belong to a heroic tradition balanced in germanic religion and mythology and had been filled with christian spirit. The poem is only known from a single manuscript and the spellings and the only copy has the mix of west Saxon and Anglion dialects of Old English. Beowulf was translated into a modern english, and was published in 2014 as the best seller. It was a one of the earliest surviving documents written in any other vernacular language and it was very valuable documents into the culture and history of medieval ages to historians(Tolkien-1955). Ethical values are open in the mind though the germanic code of loyalty tribe, and vengeance to enemies(Smith-1967).

Beowulf is more of a optimistic poem because it has been said that it’s more of a lyrical elegy than epic. Beowulf had receive great work of literature compared to a classical epic to Homer and Virgil. Beowulf has been described of moving depiction of heroism and in the medieval age plagued by violence and rivalry(Tolkien-1955). It has been presented to a rare and primary-source view of medieval society, culture, and literature. The lineage involve with beowulf has been depicted with honor and vassalage but it has largely disappeared as a sustaining social construct from Western Society since the enlightenment(Tolkien-1955). Family loyalty was the predominant feature of the culture depreed in the epic poem It also easily spirals into a cycle of violence and particularly the need for vengeance. Gerard Manley Hopkins was influenced by Beowulf adapted his strong Rhythm from the harsh rhythms of Beowulf and Ezra Pound was also influenced deeply by the poem and attempted a translation along with several other Anglo-Saxon poems. J.R.R. Tolkien was influenced by drawing the material from the fantasy world of Beowulf. Some scholars believe that many of the the people in the events depicted in the epic poem of Beowulf And has been used as a source of information about Scandinavian and Germanic history. Christian monks were the only members of Anglo-Saxon Society with access to writing materials.

Beowulf was recited because a fear of people at the time were unable to read and They recited it for another reason and It made the rhyme instead of pairs of lines. Scholars disagree as to whether Beowulf is a pagan or christian poem in nature. Most of Beowulf is strongly defined by kinship, If a relative is killed it is the duty of surviving relatives to exact revenge on his killer. Beowulf was one of the languages and ancestral to Modern English. Most poetry follows strict forms where the numbers of accented and unaccented syllables are the same, also some are not counted at all because some lines in Beowulf were long compared to the short ones. Writer Snorri Sturluson Describe the locations of the burial mounds of kings(Sturluson). The Symbolism of the Mead-Hall represents the power and wisdom of the king of Heorot and under the roof of Hrothgar’s Mead-Hall is a symbol of successful leadership of a great king. Some Scholars believe that the extension of the Mead-Hall had hrothgar’s powerful and benevolent rule over the danes.

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Old English Epic Poem - Beowulf. (2020, Sep 05). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/old-english-epic-poem-beowulf-essay

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