Essay On Beowulf

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Beowulf is an epic poem. It is probably not the first epic poem you have read, however. Somewhere in our classical literature study, you probably studies The Iliad or The Odyssey by Homer, the Greek poet. If so, you may recall the characteristics of an epic poem as follows:

  1. There is a monumental hero
  2. The setting is in a large amount of geography, because the hero must engage in all sorts of exploits
  3. The hero’s actions are extraordinarily valorous
  4. There are evil supernatural forces at work

Scholars read Homer’s works in the original Greek. Students may be asked to read Beowulf in its original Old English, which may actually seem like Greek a lot of the time. Fortunately, there are editor’s notes usually found in the margins which translate some of the more difficult words, phrases, or passages, but it would probably be a good idea to find a modern translation as you read it, just you don’t get bogged down trying to decipher words rather than focusing on the tale itself. Once the work is finished, there will be one or more Beowulf essays assigned, and those may be a bit challenging.

Possible Beowulf Essay Topics

  1. Discuss the 12th century Germanic code as it related to the concept of a hero and demonstrate how Beowulf fits this concept.
  2. Compare Beowulf to one of the Greek heroes depicted in The Iliad or The Odyssey. And were the antagonists, those supernatural forces, similar?
  3. How do the morals, character traits, and values of Beowulf relate to a selected hero from modern fiction?
  4. How does the concept of the hero in the middle ages compare to our concept of a hero today? Do we demand as much of our heroes?
  5. Write a eulogy for Beowulf that you would read at his funeral.
  6. Germanic code insisted that a hero be loyal to his/her ruler. How did Beowulf demonstrate that loyalty?
  7. Compare the Germanic pagan concept that true greatness is only accomplished at an earthly level with the Christian concept that greatness is achieved in the afterlife, not necessarily on Earth.
  8. Discuss the theme of revenge as it relates to Grendel.
  9. Discuss the changes that occur in Beowulf as he matures from a risk-taking young person, seeking adventure and personal glory and as the older king who focuses more on protecting his people.
  10. Can Beowulf be seen as a “Christ figure,” given the fact that his last battle saves his people but results in his own death?
  11. Compare the heroism and exploits of Beowulf with those of Luke Skywalker from Star Wars.

Beowulf is considered a classic piece of literature, because it is the only surviving epic poem from the 12th century and because its themes are so universal – good vs. evil, heroism, loyalty, trust, and benevolence in leadership. For this reason, it is still studied today, even though it may never be your favorite piece of literature.

Finding Sources for Help

If you are struggling with an essay on Beowulf that will provide a good analysis and result in a good grade, you can easily find sample Beowulf essays online. While these may give you some good ideas, pay close attention to how you use them. You do not want to suffer a charge of plagiarism. And, if you truly hate the thought of producing such an essay, or just need some professional help to finish it, Essay Thinker has some great writers with degrees in English literature who will be happy to help you out.