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Beowulf Critical Essays

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❶At the evening victory celebration, Hrothgar offers Beowulf some advice regarding the necessity to restrain his pride and to recognize his responsibility to act not simply for personal gain.

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After Beowulf defeats Grendel’s mother, how long does he rule over the Geats?
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How It All Goes Down

Beowulf, his Geatish warriors, and some of Hrothgar's Danish warriors track her there. Beowulf dives into the lake and finds the cave, where he takes on Grendel's mother in another one-on-one battle. Seizing a nearby sword from Grendel's mother's stash of treasure, he slays her, even though her poisonous demon blood melts the blade.

When Beowulf returns to the surface, carrying the sword hilt and Grendel's severed head, the Danish warriors have given him up for dead, but his own Geatish followers are still waiting patiently. When everyone sees that Beowulf has survived this second challenge, there's even more partying and gift-giving. Finally, the Geats take their leave of the Danes; Beowulf says goodbye to King Hrothgar and sails back to Geatland, where he is a lord in the court of King Hygelac.

Eventually, Hygelac and all his relatives are killed in different blood-feuds, and Beowulf becomes the King of the Geats. Beowulf reigns as king for fifty years, protecting the Geats from all the other tribes around them, especially the Swedes.

He is an honorable and heroic warrior-king, rewarding his loyal thanes warrior lords and taking care of his people. But one day, Beowulf finally meets his match: Many years later, Beowulf fought his last monster--a dragon which had been terrorizing his kingdom. Beowulf was an old man, but he was still a powerful warrior.

The author reveals that fate was against him during this fight--as evidenced by his death following the combat--but he overcame these encumbrances and slew the dragon.

Beowulf's most heroic fight was his fight against the dragon, because he overcame both fate and the relative frailty of old age to protect his people from the fire-winged foe. Now let's consider Beowulf's leadership. Beowulf ruled the Geat people for 50 years before he died after defeating the dragon. Beowulf does not give much insight into the protagonists' qualities as a leader or his specific actions while king.

Nevertheless, the author reveals that his people were extremely sorrowful at his death, and they repeatedly declared that he was a good king. But perhaps Beowulf's virtues as a leader are not so cut-and-dried, for Beowulf's death left the Geat people in dire straits. During Beowulf's fight with the dragon, only one of his hand-picked warriors--the young Wiglaf--did not flee in terror. Could this indicate that Beowulf--relying on his own strength as a warrior--had done a poor job of training his mean to be valiant warriors themselves?

Moreover, following his lord's death, Wiglaf lamented that the Frisians, Franks, and Swedes would probably now invade and conquer the Geats. Beowulf had to have known that his death would embolden the Geats' foes, yet he chose to ignore the risk of death and fight the dragon anyway.

Was he being a heroic leader by fighting the dragon himself instead of sending in his men, or was recklessly pursuing his own glory at the expense of his kingdom's future?

Although Beowulf was valiant warrior, he was a poor leader because he put his own glory before the well-being of his kingdom. This topic relates to the previous one about Beowulf's qualities as a leader.

Beowulf put his kingdom at great risk by fighting the dragon. We do not know what happened as a result of his death, but Wiglaf seemed sure that the Geat foes would conquer Beowulf's kingdom. Nevertheless, the dragon was a very real threat; it had terrorized the Geats and even razed Beowulf's throne-room. Perhaps Beowulf was trying to protect the lives of his men by fighting the dragon himself, rather than sending them to do his dirty work for him.

Were his men skilled enough to defeat the dragon without his help? This is a controversial topic, and it should prove fertile ground for you to write your Beowulf essay. Here is a sample thesis:. Beowulf's decision to fight the dragon himself was correct, because he was the only warrior valiant enough to defeat this dreadful monster. Hopefully this article has sparked your imagination and helped you choose a topic for your Beowulf essay.

In summary, here are the sample Beowulf essay topics and their corresponding sample theses. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners. HubPages and Hubbers authors may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others.

To provide a better website experience, owlcation. However, after all his soldiers but Wiglaf flee, Wiglaf urges Beowulf on to victory and helps to kill the dragon by stabbing him with a dagger. During the battle, Beowulf is badly burned and fatally wounded in the neck. Before his funeral pyre is built, his soldiers march past his body, having to pass the foot corpse of the dragon first.

While this poem is only 3, lines, it is full of visual imagery and complicated family lineage; therefore, it is suggested the poem be read in three parts: One hour for each of the three sections, totaling three hours, should be more than sufficient for reading Beowulf.

Since different editions of the poem will have various line numbers and spelling of the names, it is important to know which was used in writing this study guide: The New American Library, Commonly thought of as an English epic poem, Beowulf actually celebrates the deeds of a Norse hero.

In fact, all the characters in the poem are from the region of northern Europe from which the Danes, Swedes, and other Norse tribes originated. This should not be surprising, however, because Norse warriors invaded the British Isles in the early sixth century and remained there for nearly three hundred years.

That Beowulf is written in a language now called Old English may be a testament to the popularity of the story; while it takes place between and c. The manuscript was preserved in the collection of an English man until the seventeenth century, when it was donated to the British Museum. Despite its damaged condition, the manuscript has been examined repeatedly by scholars interested in the historical background and literary qualities of this unique poem.

The principal story is divided into three segments, with brief interludes linking them. In the first major episode, the young Beowulf, a noble from Geatland southern Sweden , leads a party of his countrymen to Denmark. His intent is to rescue the Danish king Hrothgar and his household from a fierce monster, Grendel. Before Beowulf can fight Grendel, however, he must establish his credentials among the Danes. Beowulf defends himself against this verbal attack, explaining how his past behavior reflects both personal bravery and concern for his fellow warriors.

Mortally wounded, the monster slinks back to its home in the nearby mere. At the evening victory celebration, Hrothgar offers Beowulf some advice regarding the necessity to restrain his pride and to recognize his responsibility to act not simply for personal gain.

Once home, he reports his adventures to his uncle, who honors him still more for his selfless acts of bravery.

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Beowulf essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Beowulf. Beowulf essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Beowulf.

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Character List Beowulf Beowulf is the protagonist of the whole literature. Beowulf is portrayed as a hero to the people of the Dane because he killed Grendel, Grendel’s mother and the dragon. Each fight was hard and well-fought, both by Beowulf and the enemies.

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Give me a short summary of the epic poem Beowulf? Beowulf is one of the most famous poems in old English. It is about three thousand lines long and the story revolves around three battles. A Summary of the Epic of Beowulf Essay Words | 6 Pages. Beowulf is a story that takes place in medieval Europe, the main part of the story is about a knight, Beowulf, who has to fight evil creatures such as a dragon.

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Essay on Beowulf is an Epic Hero Words | 6 Pages. Epic battles, terrifying monsters, extraordinary strength, and great leadership; these characteristics and encounters are what make up the epic hero that is Beowulf. The heroism exemplified by Beowulf is defined by many different qualities. The more rings, swords, and coats of mail piled upon the ship, the greater the king’s glory; however, those riches eventually burn away or become otherwise lost to the king’s people. In Beowulf, treasure simultaneously has an eternal and an evanescent quality. Amidst the general veneration of treasure, though, come some discordant notes.