Beowulf - In medieval Europe heroes rode atop mighty steeds slew great monsters righted the wrong and died horrible deaths due to their own pride

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In medieval Europe heroes rode atop mighty steeds, slew great monsters, righted the wrong, and died horrible deaths due to their own pride and stupidity. Well, this may not apply to all champions of that time, but those words describe the character of Beowulf well. Beowulf, a man who is a hero on many accounts but also flawed like many people of his time. An anonymous poet chronicled the fictional adventures of Beowulf in a long poem that bore the same name as its leading man. It’s within this story we see the rise and fall of an infamous warrior who achieves and loses greatness all in rhythmic poetry. Beowulf , the oldest written poem known, provides insight into the story’s hero’s qualities, both positive and negative. The character Beowulf is a tremendous warrior, hailing from the lands of the Geats, located somewhere in the Denmark/Sweden/Scandinavia region between the 8 th - 10 th century. The poem opens with Beowulf’s arrival at Scylding lands to assist Hrothgar, the king of the Scyldings, with his problem regarding a man-troll creature named Grendel. It is important to note that Beowulf visits Hrothgar as a young man looking to make a name for himself. Beowulf lists his victories to Hrothgar in an attempt to impress the king and affirm that he truly is a hero, “Bloodstained from battle, come from the fight, when I captured five, slew a tribe of giants, and on the salt waves fought sea- monsters by night, survived the tight spot, avenged the Weders’ affliction…” (Liuzza 419-66). Although, Hrothgar’s warrior Unferth is not impressed by his claims and say there is little truth behind what he says. Beowulf proves his naysayer wrong when Grendel eventually does come to Hrothgar’s mead hall later that evening. Being the great warrior that he is, Beowulf defeats Grendel bare handed, ripping off his arm and forcing him to retreat to his den, “Grendel was forced to flee, mortally wounded, into the fen-
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This note was uploaded on 03/31/2008 for the course MDVL 1450 taught by Professor Minema during the Spring '08 term at Western Michigan.

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Beowulf - In medieval Europe heroes rode atop mighty steeds slew great monsters righted the wrong and died horrible deaths due to their own pride

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