The Hero’s Story: Beowulf
As Course Hero’s infographic on Beowulf shows, pop culture has borrowed extensively from the poem — sometimes directly referencing Beowulf (as in Star Trek and in Xena ). More often, we’ve seen Beowulf shaping literature and film through monster outcast and dragon characters (e.g., Godzilla, The Hobbit, Shrek, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Harry Potter, and even Game of Thrones) and through battles between man and beast. In this history of Beowulf, that hero is a Geat called Beowulf. In this tale of Annabelle, that hero is Sister Charlotte, a Nun. Beowulf was a only man, who got sworn not fight Grendel with a sword, but with his bare hands. Sister Charlotte had just prayer pearls, the Holy Bible, and her religion.
Beowulf pulls the sleeve of Grendel clean off the socket, and Grendel stumbles back to his cave, spouting blood and dies. Sister Charlotte makes her prayer Pearl in the possessed Janice and squeezes her in to a cupboard with wallpaper made of pages from the Bible, the demon vanquished at last. All in all, these two tales are amazingly similar. While studies like Great Expectations or Jane Eyre may contain “ falsity ” in them as regards realism (made there always be a Pip Pirrip? I guess not) , there is a distinction between them and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone or even Beowulf. And maybe the only way to explain their conflicts is to tell one kind has magic in it whilst the other does not. I believe that the main distinction in the genre is what does this discourse all the more interesting.
While poetry elaborates these opinions of the spirit and ideas of the mind, fantasy literature explores the wilds of the imagination and fascinates the real attention and psyche of the readers. Tolkien published a great deal of fantasy literature and also published a lot about it in his essay, “ On Fairy Stories ”. However, he incorporated divinity into writing and once one realizes the fundamentals of reason we write and make narratives, the more we love God and his giving and praise Him for it. Both the Knight’s quest and Beowulf’s quest are similar in that in each instance, the hero increases the respect of his community. This is core part of the heroic quest in these chivalric texts. Without a community to praise this hero for what they have done, there could not be any glory in reaching this quest. In the Wife of Bath’s story, when the Knight correctly answers the Queen’s question, he impresses all the ladies show for “ In al this court ne was ther wyf ne mayde/Ne wydwe that contraried that he sayde ”.
Beowulf of course gains much more fame for his quest, for his job is far more intimidating. The king Hrothgar desperately seeks this help of Beowulf, and offers a big feast for the Geat and his comrades. After Beowulf is successful in overcoming this beast, his reputation and fame immensely rises and “ it was often told that South or north, between these two oceans, across the broad globe, there was none better under the broad billowing sky among shield-warriors, nor more worthy to rule ”.
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The epic poem Beowulf is one of the earliest examples of English literature. Originally written in Old English, the story has been translated and passed on for generations. The fundamental […]
Beowulf was written in 1000AD by an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet. Beowulf tells in a third person perspective of a warrior named Beowulf who assists a king named Hrothgar in ridding […]
“In peaceful times the warlike man sets upon himself.” The poem “Beowulf” illustrates the violent, primitive reality of the truth in Nietszche’s aphorism. The monster Grendel plays a symbolic role […]
A quick read-through of the Old English epic poem Beowulf reveals that the text centers heavily around male characters and typically masculine themes. The main character, Beowulf, a powerful and renowned […]
As Course Hero’s infographic on Beowulf shows, pop culture has borrowed extensively from the poem — sometimes directly referencing Beowulf (as in Star Trek and in Xena ). More often, […]