Beowulf was written in the Anglo-Saxon (8th and 11th century) which would be considered old English to us. Beowulf is a very courageous hero of whom this epic poem is about. It reflects the early medieval warrior culture of Europe. Beowulf is the oldest surviving piece of literature in English history. Beowulf is described as being strong and courageous as stated in (lines 110) he was the strongest of the Geats. Beowulf is written in alliteration verse. To show Beowulf's strength as a hero, (line 272) "Bent back as Beowulf leaned up on one arm.”He crushes Grendel's claw with the force of only one hand.” Great bodies beating at its beautiful walls..." (Line 295). Up from his swampland, sliding silently..." (Line 238). These specific lines show his snake-like characteristics with the constant "S" sounds like hissing or slithering. Beowulf was very much so a hero because he came to Hrothgar’s rescue to help control Grendel. He later killed Grendel which saved the lives of many. A big characteristic in why Beowulf is an epic would be humanitarian. He is able to understand both the feelings and emotions of all the different people that he ends up helping. Beowulf has various super human traits that not all the people within the poem had. Kennings are used all throughout the poem because Beowulf is hardly called by his actual name. Instead of using his actual name, there are many kennings referring to him, an example would be the "Prince of the Weders" and "The Geatish hero." These kennings are used to describe Beowulf in a different name rather than using his actual name. Without these kennings Beowulf wouldn’t be as interesting and it would get boring just reading Beowulf over and over again. There is a very somber tone throughout the poem. This somber tone is because of the battles that are going on and all the fighting. There is no happy point within the poem except for the part where Beowulf rips off Grendel’s arm, and ends up killing Grendel.
There are many characters throughout the poem that are contrasted. Grendel was a very powerful demon that many were scared of. He was very evil and horrifying. Grendel was always blood thirsty and hungry for human flesh. In (line 20-22) it states that he was a murderous creature. His home was like hell. He lives all alone in a dark cave. He was a very haunting monster that everyone was deathly scared of. Hrothgar on the other hand was a prince that was among the top leaders within the story that had control over the warriors. He was a very mighty and powerful man but when it came to fighting Grendel he and his men were very weak. He was also the King of the Danes. He was a great ruler among the people. People would be so scared as to even go anywhere near his throne. Beowulf was the King of the Geats. In (Line 110), he was the strongest of all the Geats. He was a very brave, strong, and courageous hero to the people. He fought for his life and came up winning the battle, that allowed no weapons.
Beowulf’s tone at the beginning of the poem is somber and it is the same at the end of the poem as well. There are so many different bad things that happen within the poem that are tragic. There are feuds between people that causes fights and it is all just battles and fighting throughout the whole poem. Grendel is the main reason the poem is somber, he causes a lot of the killings and battles. He is described as a “powerful monster” in line 1-2. In (Line 42-44”How well he had worked, and in that gray morning he broke their long feast with tears and laments.” In (Line 58) “Were those who fled him. Hate had triumphed.” Pain and horror is a major affect into why the tone of the poem is somber. Grendel keeps killing Hrothgar’s men and attacking them inside of Heorot. In (Line 68-72) “On the Danes, keeping the bloody feud.” It explains how graphic the battles are and that they will continue to be that way.
An example of fate was when