Historical background[ edit ] Approximate central regions of tribes mentioned in Beowulf, with the location of the Angles in Angeln. The events in the poem take place over most of the sixth century, after the Anglo-Saxons had started migrating to England and before the beginning of the seventh century, a time when the Anglo-Saxons were either newly arrived or were still in close contact with their Germanic kinsmen in Northern Germany and southern Scandinavia. The poem may have been brought to England by people of Geatish origins.
Beowulf Beowulf is considered to be the longest and greatest poem extant in Old English. It has recently been made famous by the Beowulf movie, Beowulf game, Beowulf 3d, and the Beowulf trailer. Totalling 3, lines, Beowulf was written sometime between - a.
There is no specific literary source for the Beowulf epic. Many of its characters and digressions belong to the Germanic tradition preserved through the oral traditions of the minstrels.
We know nothing, however, of Beowulf's author. The structure of Beowulf is both tripartite and bipartite. Any point in the story, therefore, may be seen as either part of the decline and self-destruction of the steadfast hero and heroic ideal, or as a moment in life to which there exists a parallel yet contrasting moment in the other half of the poem.
The story of Beowulf opens by recounting the career of Scyld Scefing, a king sent by God to the Danes.
After Scyld's death the Danes prosper under his descendants. One of those descendants, Hrothgar, builds the Danes a great hall called Heorot.
Heorot is soon invaded by Grendel, a half-human monster who is hated by God. The Danes are helpless against these attacks until the hero Beowulf arrives to aid them. He battles Grendel in hand to hand combat in Heorot and kills the monster by tearing off its arm.
Grendel's mother then comes to avenge her son. Beowulf and Hrothgar follow her to her lair in a disgusting lake, where Beowulf fights Grendel's mother in her hall at the bottom of the lake.
Beowulf almost loses, but with the aid of God is eventually victorious. He is lavishly rewarded and returns to his own land where he tells his adventures to his uncle, King Hygelac.
The poem then jumps fifty years into the future when Beowulf is in old age and king of the Geats. He then fights his last battle agains a dragon that is guardian of a cursed treasure.
He tries to fight the dragon alone, but can only defeat it with the aid of a younger relative, Wiglaf. The dragon is killed, but mortally wounds Beowulf in the battle, and the old king passes away while gazing on the cursed treasure.
The death of Beowulf marks the decline of the Geats, who are now surrounded by enemies made in previous campaigns. Consequently, the poem ends in mourning for both Beowulf and his nation.
Etext of Beowulf There have been many different versions of the Beowulf story with each different Beowulf movie. The Beowulf movie is fun to watch, but to really appreciate the Beowulf story and understand the Beowulf movie, one should read the original Beowulf poem.The first in-depth, behind-the-scenes book treatment of the rivalry between the two comic book giants.
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