Violence In Beowulf

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Beowulf the brave, bold, and battle crazy Beowulf is an epic poem that tells the story of a glorious hero, by the same name, who wins fame and glory by battling and killing evil creatures that cross his path. Sea monsters, trolls, sorceresses, and dragons all fall at the hands of mighty Beowulf. The treacherous world in which we find ourselves seems ideal for producing heroes worthy of such heroic epics like Beowulf’s. It seems like in this world, the only way to fix one’s problems is to kill them. Many violent battles break out that leave the victor appearing valiant. No man is completely invincible, however, and just when it seems that nothing could possibly defeat him, our hero’s strength finally gives out. Beowulf dies a death as violent as his life. What once brought him glory and fame, in the end destroys him. This paper explores the historical and cultural context from which Beowulf emerges as well as the role of violence in the epic. Violent ‘problem solving’ was a prominent aspect of ancient Nordic culture. According to Dori Starnes, the Viking Era was marked by warfare. Viking thanes would rule from mead halls which doubled as defensive fortresses. Certain other cultural aspects inform us that these people lived in a warrior based society. For instance, success in…show more content…
While Beowulf’s behavior was defensive, the conflict with Grendel 's mother came out of culturally appropriate revenge. We see this primarily when Grendel’s Mother seeks vengeance for her son’s death. Instead of a bloodthirsty troll slaughtering everyone in sight, we see a methodical sorceress who merely wishes for the suffering of one man. The concept of revenge is far more complicated then murderous rage or self-defense. An eye for an eye means taking just as much from the person who stole from you. By taking one man who happened to be a beloved friend, Grendel’s mother reaped her vengeance on he who took her son 's
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