Beowulf Themes

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The epic poem Beowulf was written in Old English by an unknown author in England during the eighth or ninth century. It takes place in Scandinavia during the beginning of the sixth century and illustrates the idea of a traditional Anglo-Saxton hero. Beowulf is a god-like hero who courageously sets out to defeat the monster Grendel as a way to repay his father’s debt, and continues to increase his heroic status by defeating Grendel’s mother and the dragon. Reputation and a person’s lineage are themes used throughout the poem to describe kings, thanes, and monsters, and the driving motivation behind Beowulf’s decision to fight each one of these horrible monsters. Because Beowulf’s father had already tainted the family name, along with the loss of…show more content…
Unferth taunts Beowulf, calling him vain and foolish for challenging Breca, who now has his own land, and has followers who love him. He also suggests that if Beowulf could not win a simple swimming competition, that he would “pay a heavy price” for taking on Grendel (18). Beowulf rebuttals Unferth claims, first by calling him drunk, but then by stating that he killed nine monsters and that “[n]either you nor Breca have yet dared such a deed with shining sword in battle” (20). Beowulf also asks Unferth if he is so brave why is Grendel is not dead yet then. The crowd is overjoyed by Beowulf’s confidence in defeating Grendel. Beowulf helps Grendel defeat himself when Grendel pulled off his own arm in the midst of cowardly running away. Even though Beowulf was able to capture and show off Grendel’s arm as a symbol of his bravery, he was still disappointed that he “did not hold [his] deadly enemy firm enough” so that he could not get away and provide Hrothgar Grendel’s
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