Beowulf Literary Analysis

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Aaron Whitehead Beowulf Literary Analysis In the archaic time of early Anglo-Saxon culture, great warriors and brave travelers told stories of the most noble heroes and great acts of God. Of all of these, no other story encapsulates the role of the hero more than that of the epic Beowulf. Written sometime between 700 and 1000 AD, Beowulf follows the journey of the strongest man in all the earth, and hero of the Geats, Beowulf. When Hrothgar, King of the Danes, sends the story of how a demon monster, Grendel, terrorizes his beloved mead hall, Beowulf travels far across land and sea to kill the beast and obtain fame, glory, and honor as hero and savior of the Danes. But what is a hero according to Anglo-Saxon ideology, or rather, the tradition of epic poetry? Within the realm of Beowulf, heroism is often described as being strong and brave, a leader among men, one who is fearless in the dark face of death, and a forger of an everlasting legacy, much like Beowulf himself is. All of these heroic aspects are displayed through Beowulf’s actions as the story progresses in both figurative and literal ways. The story of Beowulf is one of a heroic code. The heroic code of Anglo-Saxon culture dictates that relationships between warriors be founded on loyalty and respect. The most important obligation to a warrior is to remain loyal to his king and serve him without contingency. The heroic code that is represented in Beowulf is one in which treasure functions as a sign of mutual responsibility. If a warrior, such as Beowulf, performs an act of heroism for his king, he will be greatly rewarded. For example, when Hrothgar wanted Beowulf to kill Grendel's mother, he offered Beowulf treasure. Beowulf, in regard to the epic tradition, is the epitome of a hero. The epic poem clearly depicts Beowulf as a man of extraordinary physical strength. He displays his strength against
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