Violence In Beowulf Research Paper

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Vengeance and Violence in Anglo-Saxon Literature Har-Roop Gala English Literature 46A Keen 11:30-12:20 “Reciprocal loyalty between warlord and knight, revenge obligation regarding death or injury, and fame-assuring battle courage,” those are the Anglo-Saxon warrior code ethics. During King Alfred’s rule (849-899), he had introduced law-codes based on traditional Old Testament legislation. The eight laws concern the appropriate procedures for settling a dispute with an ongoing adversary. The main point behind Alfred’s laws is that if a satisfactory resolution to a feud is not imminent when one approaches an adversary peacefully, one may lawfully assault him. Alfred’s laws also demand that one overwhelm one’s enemy and attempt…show more content…
In the poem, Beowulf, a Geat hero, battles three antagonists: Grendel, who is attacking the Danish mead hall called Herot; Grendel’s mother, and later in his life, an unnamed dragon. The author uses alliterative verse as the principal structuring device to unify the poem, as opposed to other devices such as rhyme. Besides the technical aspects of the poem, Beowulf is rich in Anglo-Saxon traditions. In the epic, there is an immense amount of violence that is accepted with different feelings by other characters. The two main forms of violence are preformed by Grendel, the main antagonist of the poem and by Beowulf - the hero of the story. Due to the fact that Anglo-Saxon culture is immersed in violence and vengeance, these acts are accepted without question. The motivation for each character’s violence varies immensely. Grendel was an “unhappy creature” and this was “after God condemned [him] as kin of Cain”, this led Grendel to become a vengeful and wicked creature. When he attacked Herot his attack was, “grim, and fierce, was quickly ready, savage and cruel, and [he] seized from their rest thirty thanes.” Grendel kills to fulfill a blood lust and a deep hatred because he is alone in his
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