J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Monsters and the Critics"
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This paper explains that, although J.R.R. Tolkien's article, "The Monsters and the Critics", is credited with starting the modern criticism of "Beowulf" through its defense of the work as a unified piece of poetry, there are points that can be argued in other directions. The paper then relates that, with his analysis, Tolkien managed to change how Beowulf was read by moving the monsters to the forefront of the poem, but he also portrays them in a very limited light. The paper elaborates on this contention by discussing the most startling absence in Tolkien's analysis of Beowulf's monsters, that of Grendel's mother.
From the Paper:"Tolkien breaks Beowulf into only two spheres of monstrosity: the first encompassing lines 1 to 2199 and regarding Grendel while the second ranges from line 2200 to the end of the poem and concerns the dragon. Tolkien states that both monsters "are creatures, feond mancynnes, of a similar order and kindred significance." While Grendel is indeed described as mankind's enemy as well as being noted as a descendant of Cain's race, alive during the age of the giants, and most importantly a wonsaeli wer ("miserable man" ), the dragon is great but is also a living creature that is not necessarily on the same biblical scale of evil."
Sample of Sources Used:
- J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Monsters and the Critics," Interpretations of Beowulf: A Critical Anthology. Edited by R.D. Fulk. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991).
- Liuzza, , R.M., Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by R.M. Liuzza. (Toronto: Broadview Press Ltd., 2000).
- Beowulf: An Edition. Revised by Bruce Mitchell and Fred C. Robinson (Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 1998)..
- New Catholic Encyclopedia. (New York, 1967), 2nd Volume, under Cain and Abel.
Cite this Article Review:
J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Monsters and the Critics" (2008, November 25) Retrieved March 29, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/article-review/j-r-r-tolkien-the-monsters-and-the-critics-109215/
"J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Monsters and the Critics"" 25 November 2008. Web. 29 March. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/article-review/j-r-r-tolkien-the-monsters-and-the-critics-109215/>