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Beowulf 10 Essay, Research Paper

Textual analysis: Beowulf

Beowulf is a very complex piece of literature, or perhaps I just have a small mind, never the less it was difficult for me to understand. It was originally a folk-lore, passed verbally through the years, therefore it was told in a manor that could be easily remembered and retold. This story was told, possibly sang, to warriors before they went into battle. It was told to then to put a sense of bravery. When this story was told, the narrator used alliteration, kenning, and a sing-song pattern; this helped the story teller to remember the story.

Who the original speaker is in this story is not stated; but the reader gets the idea that it is a person that was watching from a distance. It was not one of the warriors, for they ran off. Perhaps it was just a commoner that wants to see what is being done for his own safety. This story was passed by mouth for close to five hundred years. Told to warriors right before they went out to battle. The story teller would have possibly sang this story so that it could be remembered. Because of this there is a certain flow to the piece, not any rhyming, but there is a general flow.

The first sign of alliteration occurs on the first line of the piece extracted from the story. “Then the dangerous dragon ” It goes on to emphasize the burdening problem the dragon, ” scourge of the Geats ” is towards the innocent Geats. When in reality, the Geats were doing as much killing as the dragon, and their killing was probably less justifiable than the dragons, considering the dragon was fighting for his own survival. In this case though the dragon was killing in a rage, over his missing treasure. Nevertheless, the Geats see the dragon as pure evil. “(He) was intent a third time upon attack ” Perhaps by his relentless attacking it suggests that evil is always there, that we may keep fighting it, but it forever keeps fighting back. Then our hero is introduced. ” he rushed towards the renowned man ” Just from this excerpt, we know that Beowulf is a man held above the average man. We are constantly reminded of how honorable Beowulf is. ” great courage, strength, and daring, as was his nature.” Beowulf is referred to as being a renowned man twice in just this small excerpt. The whole point of this story is to magnify the doings of the “brave” Beowulf. Alliteration was used throughout the piece, this is to ensure that all the heroic descriptions will be passed on. “Beowulf was bathed in blood; it spurted out in streams.” “(He) was badly burned,” this referring to the one man who stayed behind to help Beowulf. Even in Beowulf’s defeat his bravery inspires another man to be just as brave, and kills the dragon. “Thus they had killed their enemy-their courage enabled them- the brave kinsmen together had destroyed him.”

This story is a heroic epic. An example of the on going battle between good, and evil. This story took place around 700 b.c., at the dragon’s castle. Our hero, Beowulf, is forced to go on unknown, enemy grounds to fight his fight. Several warriors go with him to help, but at the first sign on battle they flee; the story mocks the warriors that retreat. Being that this story was told to warriors before they took the battle field, it has to imply that the warriors cowardliness would be carried throughout history just as their bravery would be carried out. The first thing the reader thinks is that you can not count on anyone to help you. Each warrior that is about to take the battle field gets the idea that they may be left alone to do some task, and even if victory is unlikely, they must believe in themselves to prevail. As we know , Beowulf is overcome by the dragon and eventually dies. While he is overcome, he is helped, and the dragon is killed. This part of the story gives the listener, or reader, the idea that no army can count on one man to win their war, they must work together as one unit if victory is what they desire. Beowulf dies, but because his heroic achievements, his story lives on. This ensures the warriors that good deeds are remembered, just as cowardly deeds are remembered, so that even in death, their story lives on.

Who is Beowulf? He was a courageous protector of all. Even in death, he beat the odds and defeated the evil dragon. He inspired a cowardly warrior to fight not only the dragons but his own terror. With his story he inspired many other warriors to strive and be just as courageous as he was. The story was passed by mouth for years until it was recorded by, more than likely, monks; they were the only people of that time that were literate. It’s verbal passing was forced to have a sing-song pattern so it would be remembered. Beowulf is the story of a great man, so great that students today are writing textual analysis reports on his story.


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