Intricacy in "Beowulf" Analytical Essay by CHRISSYMAC

Intricacy in "Beowulf"
A discussion on how the Old English epic "Beowulf" dramatizes subtle behavior in a complex social world.
# 48944 | 2,437 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2004 | GB
Published on Feb 20, 2004 in English (Analysis) , Literature (General)

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This paper argues that the Beowulf poet develops an intricacy in his poem that is unusual to Old English literature. It considers the nature of evil in the poem and also the notion of transience commonplace to Old English poetry. It looks at how "Beowulf" is unusual in that it predates " by about a millennium " present conceptions of evil and how a modern reader might draw parallels between Grendel and Osama Bin Laden, for example. It examines how the poem is fashioned by its propensity for dwelling on the continuum that exists between good and evil, and subsequently by its use of dualistic modes of interpretation: the finite as against the infinite, the human in opposition to the non-human. It also contends that Beowulf presents a mode of dualism that is ever present in human thinking and that the poem dramatizes subtle behavior in its subversion of this dualism.

From the Paper:

"That Beowulf is so fundamental to " and in fact determines " what is a particularly momentous conundrum impresses upon the reader the total importance of his character in the poem. His death is not the end of a poem, but the potential demise of a nation. It is poignant, and cyclical, that, as Swanton puts it: "Just as no man knew what became of Scyld Scefing, neither did they know " nor do we know " what became of Beowulf's Geats; they both just drift out of history" . It is fitting that Scyld's funeral should overshadow, or contain, Beowulf's; it is Scyld's infinite death that moderates Beowulf's finite life. It is perhaps, then, the death of Beowulf that breaks the cyclical hold of Scyld in the poem."

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