Beowulf is the most ancient epic poem ,with a certain extension, belonging to the Germanic literature; comparable for its beauty and relevancy to the Poem of Mio Cid in Spain. Writing in the first half of the VIIIth century, Beowulf corresponds for its themes, style and form to the cultural context of the Germanic society. The details kept in it suppose a valuable information source about the life in the Vth and VIth centuries (date when the action of the poem takes place).
The poem narrates the Beowulf fortunes in two periods of his life: in his youth and, later, being already the king of the Geats, until his fight up to death with a dragon. There is included also a selection of poems representative of the Anglo-Saxon literature of the VIIth to Xth centuries.
We can choose among different types of structures to describe this poem, depending on our point of view (i.e. depending on the funerals). If we use a structure based on chants, it would be:
II. Gréndel’s Mother
III. The Return
IV. The Dragon
The composition of the poem is of approximately 3182 Germanic alliterative poems. It is presented during all the poem pagan settings of events, but with Christian settings of composition. The author has a clear interest of ‘wyrd’ (pagan) and of the non-Christian elegiac tone constantly presented in the text. Nevertheless we can characterize it as Christian because of:
- The Christian order of life pervades the whole poem.
- The poet assumes a Christian audience.
- The poet draws on Christian ideas and even Christian expressions, for a non-Christian theme.
All the Christian references are exclusive of the Old Testament.
The text reflects a pagan ideal of heroic life (courage against doom, fame and gold booty). Also, it mixes the heroic idealism and the somber fatalism (where the Dragon ‘win’ at the end with the death of