Beowulf | Literature Criticism Critical Essay by Kathryn Hume

Gareth Hinds
This literature criticism consists of approximately 32 pages of analysis & critique of Beowulf.
This section contains 9,344 words
(approx. 32 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Kathryn Hume

Critical Essay by Kathryn Hume

SOURCE: “The Theme and Structure of Beowulf,” in Studies in Philology, Vol. LXXII, No. 1, January, 1975, pp. 1-27.

In the following essay, Hume maintains that Beowulf's construction emphasizes the author's concern with theme, rather than with the hero or the action. The major thematic issue of the poem, Hume states, is the threat to social order.

I

What is Beowulf about? Ever since Turner, Conybeare, and Grundtvig impressed Beowulf's name on this titleless poem, the natural answer has been “Beowulf, the hero.” This assumption, so simple and inevitable as to be almost unconscious, lies behind most subsequent criticism, and is responsible for much that makes it contradictory and unsatisfactory. Actually, the author's handling of Beowulf and his selection of events neither suggest nor suit a hero-centered design.

No Heldenleben...

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This section contains 9,344 words
(approx. 32 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Kathryn Hume