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Heroic Code Beowulf Essays

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact moment that the Anglo-Saxon heroic culture came to an end. There is no doubt, however, that the ideals prominent during the time of Beowulf, Hrothgar, and Wiglaf have gradually dissipated and taken on alternate forms. Beowulf, arguably the most heroic of all, is also symbolic of the Anglo-Saxon culture as a whole. His strength is their strength, and his downfall, alluded to in numerous passages throughout the poem, is their downfall. It is possible to use examples of the disappearance of the heroic code to develop a fuller understanding of the diminishment of the Anglo-Saxons.

The poem begins with a description of Shield Sheafson. Sheafson is the epitome of the heroic warrior; the author uses the litote, "That was one good king" (Heaney 11) to describe him. Sheafson perfectly fits the idea of the Anglo-Saxon hero:

The prospect of gaining a glorious name in the wÂl-rÂs (the rush of battle-slaughter), the pride of defending one's lord and bearing heroic witness to the integrity of the bond between him and his hall-companions. (Heaney website)

This, along with the desire for earthly treasure, the search for glory though warfare, the continuance of feuds, a comitatus, wergild,...

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Heroic Code Of Beowulf Essay

From the very start of the poem, the author creates the image of Beowulf as a fearless warrior who possesses ridiculous strength and bravery. The author also alludes to his nearly mythical good deeds, and we are left with the image of a seemingly immortal character, almost god-like in nature. The purpose of this essay is to analyze the author's description of Beowulf through the early parts of the piece and leading through his talk with Unferth. Through the early parts of the piece, the author seeks to portray Beowulf as a confident, brave leader who is a fearful warrior capable of accomplishing any task at hand. I will show this by examining the original introduction of Beowulf seen in line 194 and leading through his description prior to leaving on his journey to help Hrothgar.

When we are introduced to Beowulf we are immediately given the image of a courageous and respected warrior. In the first lines we are told that he is a "good man among the Geats" and that he was a man of awsome strength. We are immediately aware of his confidence and pride as it describes his burning desire to rise up to the challenge of Grendel, a enemy who has wreaked havoc in Heorot and slain hundreds of brave warriors who thought they were strong enough to overcome him. Another telling fact of the story is that even though he is loved by the wise men and warriors of his land, they do not hesitate to encourage him with his task regardless of the...

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Anglo-Saxon Ideal Code of Conduct in Beowulf

538 words - 2 pages Anglo-Saxon Ideal Code of Conducthe epic poem of "Beowulf" presents the characteristics of two heroes, Beowulfand Hrothgar. During this Anglo-Saxon time period, Hrothgar rules as the king of hisDanish lands. However, this king faces many problems due...

Essay comparing/contrasting heroic styles of Beowulf and Sir Gawain

851 words - 3 pages Throughout history, different cultures have held different virtues in the highest regard. The Anglo-Saxons, like the anonymous scop of the poem Beowulf, valued strength and courage over any other quality. On the other hand, the earliest English people, like the poet of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, respected...

Historical and Social Symbology in Beowulf

1589 words - 6 pages On the surface, the poem Beowulf seems to be a simple tale of a brave hero who triumphs over three monsters and who engages in several other battles in order to preserve what is just and right. A more thorough reading, however, reveals that the epic poem is filled with events that symbolize historical and social conditions that prevailed during the European reign of the Scandinavians in the seventh century to around the ninth century, following...

Beowulf as a hero in modern society.

734 words - 3 pages In the historic epic Beowulf, its title character, Beowulf, is perceived as an unconventional as well as a traditional hero in current society. Beowulf, the son of Ecgtheow and Hygelac's thane, is presented as a fearless warrior to the audience. This acknowledgment of Beowulf causes the readers to instantly recognize that...

Beowulf: The Epic Hero

1451 words - 6 pages Beowulf, written between the 8th and 10th centuries, is an epic poem set in southern Sweden. The poem illustrates the Anglo-Saxon’s strong belief in the heroic code. The loyalty between the warrior and his king bound the culture together. The warrior was the ultimate hero who represented strength and courage. Beowulf, the hero in the poem, illustrates the Germanic principles of the heroic code. Through the battles and character...

Beowulf:The Birth Of A Hero

1313 words - 5 pages "Beowulf: The Birth of a Hero" Many think Beowulf's primary focus and theme is the battle of good and evil. After some analysis one may find that while this initial conflict is present and important, Beowulf's main focus is on the evolution of Beowulf himself. Beowulf exemplifies heroic traits throughout the poem. However, his values and focus as a hero change as he matures and grows older. As a youth Beowulf begins with heroic...

Comparing Beowulf and Michael Crichton's The 13th Warrior

814 words - 3 pages Comparing Beowulf and Michael Crichton's The 13th Warrior Michael Crichton intertwined some aspects of Beowulf with his own thoughts to produce the drama, “The 13th Warrior.” Beowulf, written down by an unnamed Christian monk in the 8th century, served as a framework for the plot of “The 13th Warrior.” Beowulf and “The 13th Warrior” have many differences but the similarities that they share are more abundant through out the two pieces. Instead...

"Beowulf."

844 words - 3 pages Beowulf is the first classic piece of English Literature and the best-known Anglo-Saxon work. This epic poem is set in an area thought to be Scandinavia, a place in Europe prior to the arrival of Christianity. The original author of Beowulf has never been identified, or established his direct reasons for creating such an epic piece. This poem was originally an oral piece, it was written down in Old English approximately around 700 a.d.;...

"Beowulf" and connection to Pagan Christianity.

597 words - 2 pages Beowulf has a unique and peculiar history. It is often presented as the archetypal literary work and as a cornerstone of Middle Ages literature. The story was composed around 700 A.D. and mostly had been in circulation in oral narrative. The action period of Beowulf story dates back to the 500 A.D. Many of the characters in the poem--the Swedish and Danish royal family members,...

Beowulf and Batman

611 words - 2 pages There are many similarities between Batman- a modern day hero making use of his intellect, modern technology, and detective skills on crime and warfare and the classic hero, Beowulf- who travels great distances to prove his strength against his enemies, even at impossible odds. For example, the simplest being that they are both heroes working towards the common good, saving others without twice thinking of their own safety. However there are also...

The Epic Poem, Beowulf - Vengeance and Revenge in Beowulf

1323 words - 5 pages Vengeance and Revenge in Beowulf   The oldest of the great lengthy poems written in English and perhaps the lone survivor of a genre of Anglo-Saxon epics, Beowulf, was written by an unknown Christian author at a date that is only estimated.  Even so, it is a remarkable narrative story in which the poet reinvigorates the heroic language, style, and values of Germanic oral poetry.  He intertwines a number of themes including good and evil,...

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