Beowulf Essay

Gareth Hinds
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In the following essay, Conrad O'Briain discusses the epic elements of and analyzes the Anglo-Saxon epic techniques the Beowulf poet used in the poem. She also compares the character of Beowulf with other epic heroes and reviews several of the themes of the work, including the role of God and providence and the futile, transitory nature of human existence.

Michael Alexander, a translator of Beowulf, begins his entry on the epic in A Dictionary of Modern Critical Terms with Milton's "great argument" and "answerable style," that is, an important theme and a style to match, to define epic. He continues, "classically trained critics, expecting art to see life steadily and see it whole, look for an idealized realism and debar folklore and romance elements." Paraphrasing and then quoting the critic Northrup Frye, Alexander accepts that "these stories recapitulate the life of the individual and the race. The note...

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This section contains 1,746 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Beowulf Study Guide
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Epics for Students
Beowulf from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.