The Story of Beowulf

The story of Beowulf is old and prehistoric, telling about three battles between Beowulf and several bad mythical creatures. These creatures were ruthless killers who killed just for the thrill of killing. Beowulf was a courageous and brave hero warrior who came in and saved Herot from Grendel, Grendels mother, and the dragon. Beowulf represents the original super hero from back in Anglo-Saxon England. He is the hero that created a gap between good and evil.

In the poem Beowulf, the first battle Beowulf encounters is with Grendel. He is an epic hero because he is brave and fearless. He is willing to do what the other men are afraid of because he knows if he does not step up and fight the evil, then no one else is going to stand up and do it. He goes into the first fight with a lot of confidence. Beowulf takes down Grendel with ease, but he does not realize what nightmare he has walked into. Like most early peoples, the Anglo-Saxons liked their heroes larger than life. Beowulf surely filled the bill. Not only was he extraordinarily courageous and loyal, but he possessed physical strength far beyond that of other men (Damon, 1).

The second battle he has to deal with is focused on Grendels mother. Beowulf thinks that since Grendel was easy to take out that she will be even easier, but she is already very upset about the loss of her son. Beowulf encounters a new problem about supernatural forms when he breaks his sword on Grendels mothers scales. This confused him because now he has to deal with a type of form that he is not familiar with. This set back pushes Beowulf to use all the strength he is capable of. He weakens her, and this gives him the advantage he was looking for in this battle. Only Beowulf dared to dive into the murky water.

Down he swam, a full day’s journey through swarms of sea creatures (Geiger 1).
The third and final battle is between Beowulf and the dragon. The dragons supernatural form is way stronger than Beowulf. Because Beowulf has gained age and a slower reaction time this would be the most challenging battle for him. Beowulf goes into this battle with the belief that fate is on his side. Little did he know, this would be the battle that ended him. The dragon fatally wounds him. His men, with the exception of one, run in fear instead of coming to Beowulfs aid and killing the dragon.

Wiglaf, the only warrior that stays behind, comes to Beowulfs rescue to fight the dragon. Beowulf shows his bravery in this last fight because before he died he gave his everything to hold the dragon off and prevent the dragon from killing him, his men, and the rest of the people. Beowulf’s assumption of an idealized feminine role by becoming a peacemaker between the Geats and the Danes; Role of women in the life of Beowulf (Morey 1).

Though it is a make believe story, many historians have been interested in Beowulf for over two hundred years. It is unknown as to who wrote it, where it was written, or when it was written. Beowulf is an epic poem of 3,182 lines which was written in Old English. This poem was written down by the monks somewhere between the tenth and twelth It is thought to be one of the oldest poems to survive the Anglo Saxon time period.

Many historians believe that it is the most important works of Old English Literature. Beowulf is set in Scandinavia. Beowulf who is a warrior of the Geats, travels to help Hrothgar, who is king of the Danes, in Herot with his army and aids in the slaying of three beasts. Hrothgars mead hall has been invaded by Grendel, the mythological beast. Beowulf defeats the beats and, his mother comes to Herot seeking revenge for her sons death. The final defeat of Beowulf is in his battle against the dragon who wounds him fatally, and he reaches his death. Once Beowulf is dead, his warriors took him to Geatland to be buried.

Society was divided into three classes. At the highest were the thanes, the Saxon social class. They enjoyed looking and banqueting and that they were expected to offer their followers gifts like weapons. Below them were the churls. Some churls were reasonably well off. Others were very poor. However at least they were free. Below them were a category of slaves referred to as thralls. Their lives were very hard. Some churls owned their own land however several ‘rented’ land from a thane. They ‘paid rent’ by functioning on the thane’s land for a part of the week and by giving him part of their crops.

The Anglo Saxons conjointly gave America the most English place names. Anglo Saxon name endings include: ham, a village or estate, tun, which is a farm or estate, hurst, a wooded hill and bury, which is derived from the Anglo Saxon word burh, meaning fortress or fortified settlement. The Anglo Saxons called groups of Roman buildings a caester. In time that world evolved into the place name ending chester, caster or cester. Almost all of them lived in little villages – several had but a hundred inhabitants. Each village was mainly self sufficient. The folks required solely a couple of things from outside like salt and iron. They grew their own food and created their own garments.

Beowulf is an Anglo Saxon piece of literature about a Pagan warrior who is trying to kill the monster Grendel and also ends up fighting with Grendels mother and then with a dragon to try to save his life he has to have help with the dragon. This poem is probably one of the most unique poems that exist in the world. The Anglo Saxon culture and history is very interesting and mind boggling to think about everything they had to go through in their everyday lives. 

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