Monday, October 17, 2011

Journal 4

                Since epic poetry is known to embody attitude and ideals of an entire culture, Beowulf is noticed to have many applications of the Anglo-Saxon culture. Many of these applications include the kinship groups led by a great chief, old-warrior type of society, the life revolving around the mead-hall, the orating scops, and the code to be loyal to the king. In Beowulf, law and order were the responsibilities of the leader in any given group, whether family, clan, tribe, or kingdom. Since Beowulf was a great warrior for the Geats, his duty was to help the Danes fight off Grendel, the merciless monster that terrorized King Hrothgar’s Kingdom. Similar to the life of the Anglo-Saxons, Hrothgar’s kingdom revolved around the great mead-hall where warriors would gather to feast, listen to bard’s/scop’s stories of gods and heroes, and to sleep in safety. The loyalty to a king was also well represented in Beowulf when Wiglef showed his bravery and helped fight off the dragon with Beowulf. This loyalty was represented with gifts from the king, similar to when Hrothgar created the great feast after Grendel was defeated.
The universal theme that Beowulf reveals includes that of good prevailing over evil. Throughout Beowulf, there are three instances where Beowulf could be viewed as the personification of everything that is good in the Anglo- Saxon culture. When Beowulf arrives to Hrothgar’s kingdom, Wulfgar told him “’My lord, the great king of the Danes, commands me to tell you that he knows of your noble birth and that having come to him from over the open Sea you have come bravely and are welcome’” (Raffel 24). Apparent in the Anglo-Saxon values, Beowulf would be acknowledged as an honorable man, because of the honor he received from the Hrothgar. As Beowulf being the “good guy,” the creatures that created despair include Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the treasure-guarding dragon. To support the theme that good prevails over evil, Beowulf successfully defeats every one of the monsters that harmed people. Although Beowulf died from wounds acquired during the battle against the dragon, he still prevailed and defeated evil. So in the end, the universal theme of the epic poem is that people with good intentions for their society will always prevail against those who create chaos and distress.

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