Theme Of Symbolism In Beowulf

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If someone were to read Beowulf straight through and not think into any of the deeper meanings or symbolism in the story, the whole tale would come off as fairly superficial and typical. It would seem like just another story of a powerful hero slaying monsters and receiving lavish rewards in return. Going through the story in that fashion would be doing it a great disservice because there is so much more to Beowulf underneath all of the grandeur of the basic story. There are many recurring themes that hint at much deeper messages and even some darker, more nihilistic themes. As if ripping the arm off of a creature and then hunting down and killing its mother wasn’t already dark enough. These themes are mostly found in the weapons, armor, and treasure in the story, which not only serve to further key plot lines, but are also heavily laden with symbolism. One of the first examples of the not-so-subtle symbolism in Beowulf we see is when Beowulf prepares for his fight against Grendel. He is well aware of how many men Grendel has killed and just how dangerous this monster is, yet Beowulf refuses to use any armor or weapons when he fights the beast. Later, in the second act of the story, Beowulf seeks out and faces off against Grendel’s mother. This time, Beowulf is fully equipped with chainmail armor and Unferth’s family sword, Hrunting. However, in the actual battle, Hrunting cannot even scratch the beast and Beowulf only survives because his armor saves his life and he then
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