ENG 208 Beowulf
ENG 208 Beowulf
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Date Created: 11/06/15
1 English 208 Beowulf 1. Beowulf is divided into three major sections. Briefly describe the ways in which each section is distinctly different. Do not summarize each section. The AngloSaxon epic poem of Beowulf can be divided into three sections. Section one focuses on Beowulf as a young warrior with a desire to prove himself and to establish his reputation as a legendary warrior. Beowulf resoundingly proves himself in the battle with Grendel (Beowulf 662835) . The second section deals with the battle with Grendel’s mother. This section centers on the theme of vengeance. Beowulf seeks vengeance against Grendel for terrorizing Hrothgar’s people. In turn, Grendel’s mother wants revenge against her son’s murderer, Beowulf (Beowulf 12511650) . Section three concerns the hero’s fate. Beowulf, now an older man and King of the Geats, realizes that he will not survive the battle with the dragon, but it is his responsibility to protect his people. With the wisdom of an older man, Beowulf is also concerned with maintaining his reputation (Beowulf 22003182). 2. Among the major themes of Beowulf are feuding and violence. Describe the message or lesson of the work on these issues. In the AngloSaxon culture, feuding and violence happened as a reaction to a real or perceived injustice. Without a structured judicial system, families, clans or tribes sought their own form of justice, and this occurred through feuding and violence. In the ancient Anglo Saxon world that lacked a judicial process for punishing those that caused harm or committed a crime against someone, society considered it one’s duty to punish or seek retribution from the offender. However, this form of justice would result in a neverending circle of retaliation. The 2 lesson to be learned from this is that taking the law into your own hands may satisfy the desire for revenge at the moment, but it may also lead to more complications and revenge sought from the other party. 3. Describe a specific event common to contemporary life which most closely mirrors the events of Beowulf. A specific event common to contemporary life that most closely mirrors the events of Beowulf is the War on Terror. The Taliban’s attack on the United States and the terrorizing of Iraqi citizens mirrors Grendel’s terrorization and attacks on Heorot. America is also known for coming to the aid in other countries when they are unable to defend themselves. This resembles Beowulf and his men aiding Hrothgar, since they were unable to defend themselves from Grendel’s terror. Lastly, Beowulf battling the dragon to protect his fellow Geats can be associated with the American military protecting our country, its people, and our freedom. 3 Works Cited n.a. "Beowulf." The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Ed. S. Lawall and M. Mack. Trans. S. Heaney. 2 ed. Vol. B. New York: Norton, 2002. 16261702. Print.
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