- April 5, 2015
- Posted by: Writers King Crew
- Category: Writing Guide
An epic is a long story in the form of a poem, which tells about a hero and his great exploits. The protagonist, or hero, usually has super human qualifies and abilities. Sometimes he also has a fatal flaw which causes his undoing. The most famous epics in western literature are eth lliad and the odyssey, which celebrate the deeds of Greek heroes such as Achilles and odysseus.
Beowulf is the oldest surviving epic in English literature. An unknown band composed it and probably recited it to the accompaniment of harp music.
The greatest literary word that has survived is an epic poem of about 3000 lines called Beowulf it was probably composed in the eighty century and written down some 300 years later. It is the story of the heroic deeds of Germanic warriors in the fifth and sixth centuries, the hero comes to the court of a Danish king and frees them from a terrible monster called Grendel. And then from Grendel’s mother, an even more ferocious beast. The second half deals with Beowulf old age. When he is king and must defend his country against a fear some dragon, which he manages to destroy, but dies in the process Alliteration is the basis of the verse. Having a clear pattern of words beginning with the same sound was a great help for memorising a vital consideration on committee where books were rare treasures.
Supernatural in Beowulf and the Tain (the Cattle Raid of cooley) Throughout both Beowulf and the Tain the authors make use of supernatural elements, whether to enhance the characters or give power to the story. The use of supernatural pushes these works into the spectrum of epic tales. Without this (monster Beowulf would not have had the chance to be a great hero. If cuchulainn did not posses. Those amazing power medb’s army would have certainly defeated him early on.
In the narrative epic poem, Beowulf, the great Anglo-saxon hero, engage in three main battles. Beowulf approaches each of these three battles in a different way and with a different strategy in mind. These three battles are: Beowulf ‘fighting’ against Grendle, Grendel’s mother, and the ‘Dragon’. In the ‘novel’ Grendel by John Gardner the battle between Grendel and through out the story new heroes emerge to take the place of told ones. There is a ‘cycle’ between heroes and villains that takes place.
The epic poem Beowulf begins with Grendel- a lonely “existentialist monster that thinks it is up to one self to live plundering and destroying Hrothgar’s kingdom. Hrothgar is the king of the Danes and was a powerful king, but is now too old to take care of Grendle.
BEOWULF: PAGAN OR CHRISTIAN EPIC
The epic poem Beowulf is a tale of a warrior- turned-hero, namely Beowulf, and the events that lead to his death, one of the essential concerns of this epic poem is whether or not it is of pagan appears to be originally a pagan story, there are many dues in the text that point to Christially influence the tradition. Beowulf as an Epic is essentially a Christian story with Christian customs: that man’s survival depends on the protection of God, that earthly gifts come from God, and also that Beowulf is a Christ- figure.
Throughout the poem, there are numerous references to Christianity, mostly referring to God, or the Almighty. These references begin right from the beginning of the poem. The story starts with Grendel hearing the bard telling the story of creation. The reader hears how the Almighty has made the earth and all that is beautiful, lovely, and full of life “The Almighty making the earth shaping these beautiful plains marked off by oceans. Made quick with life. This shows how God has given his people great gifts life the earth they live on, and the most previous gift, life. There are also other instances where the notion of God giving his people gifts is made obvious. This is when Beowulf is dying and wiglaf finds the dragon’s treasure. Beowulf clearly thanks God for his grace in giving him the treasure. This once again shows the Christian influence in the poem because Beowulf recognizes the importance of God in his life. Another display of Christian influence in the poem in how the people believe in the protection of God. This is first seen when Grendel dares not to touch Hrothgar’s throne because of its protection by God. This is also seen when Beowulf is speaking about fighting are ndel. He is not afraid of the beast because he says that God must decide who dies in this fight. This shows how Beowulf has faith in God because he knows God will protect him, or if he dies it will be with honor, This is also seen when Hrothgar is speaking about what Grendel has done to his people. “Surely, the lord Almighty could stop his madness, smother his lustl”. This portrays how Hrothgar has faith in God’s protection because if nobody can defeat Grendel, God will protect Hrothgar. This undoubtedly shows the Christian influence in the poem. The ultimate portrayal of Christian influence in “Beowulf is that Beowulf him self can be seen as being a Christ figure. These are some significant similarities between Jesus Christ and Beowulf. Jesus is called upon by the Almighty king (God) to give his life for the purpose of defeating evil. Only Jesus could get rid to sin and evil, and nobody else like Jesus Beowulf is called upon by the king of the Danes, Hrothgar, to defeat evil (Grendel) only Beowulf could defeat Grendel, Jesus was prepared and willing to die for the sake of good and righteousness. The same can be said about Beowulf. He realized that he could die but was willing to give his life in the quest for righteousness. Also, both men “were ethical. “My hands along shall fight for me” Beowulf wanted the battle between good and evil to be fair and equal, so he wanted to fight with only his hands. Jesus was also an ethical man. He is the model of ethics for Christians of all time. Both men met their death in the defense of goodness and in the battle against evil. Finally for both men, after their deeds to def evil were finished, they had they had their stories retold. For Jesus, the apostles spread the news of Jesus victory over evil, for Beowulf, the people were son joyful from his victory over Grendel, that they retold his bravery all over the land.
In conclusion, although showing signs of being a pagan story, Beowulf of is primarily a Christian story. There are many Christian elements in the poem such as, earthly gifts come from God. Grendel being connected to the family of Cain, God offering protection to his people, and Beowulf being seen as Christ-like Beowulf is a poem filled with Christian customs that show man believes in God there is good in the world, and Beowulf is a man who is willing to die to defend the world against evil.
The time period in which Beowulf , a great warrior in the poem “Beowulf”, lives in focuses and prides itself on the accomplishments of a combatant in war as well as the achievements and status of his ancestors. The hero’s of these people (the Anglo Saxons) where those who can meet the Anglo-saxon’s expectation and those who could, did so by maintaining a heroic code. By having done such valiant actions, this is why Beowulf was hailed as such a great hero in his time. The code of honor was not just a blessing to those who could maintain it, but a course to those who couldn’t. The ones who failed to fulfill their duties in the heroic code were set out as outcast or forgotten.