Beowulf And The Heroic Age

441 Words2 Pages
The long poem, Beowulf, is one that is very suggestive in nature. It is fairly easy to see the metonymy in its three monsters. Grendal, for instance, could be said to stand for the violence and harshness of the Heroic Age, while Grendel's mother could suggest the code of vengeance that the people of that time and place lived by, and lastly the Fire Dragon most likely suggests death. By reading the poem, it is very clear to see that the Heroic Age was an age that was much different from our own. The harshness of the climate alone, with long winters and short growing seasons, made existance very hard. Everyday must have been a struggle with nature. Grendel could be said to symbolize that. Not only that though, the age seamed to be one of almost never ending violence. Rival factions always on the war path, whether it be raids to plunder riches, wars between rival Scandinavian kingdoms, or family disputes. That violence is clearly evident in Grendels character. While Grendel represents violence, his mother represents the retribution. A big limiting factor in the length of ones life in that day was the constant struggle to avenge ones kinsman. With the absence of law, it was a mans duty to kill the slayer of his kinsman or to exact the payment of the wergild, to not do so would have been extremely shameful, and because of the violence of the time, this manner of thought usually lead to an endless cycle of slaughter. By the actions of Grendel's mother, following his death by the hands of Beowulf, it is fairly clear to see that she is a representation of that code of vengeance the people of the age lived and died

More about Beowulf And The Heroic Age

Open Document