Epic Poem: Beowulf

Updated October 13, 2020

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Epic Poem: Beowulf essay

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“It (Beowulf) is a poem by a learned man writing of old times, who looking back on the heroism and sorrow feels in them something permanent.” –J.R.R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings) Beowulf is an epic poem, for it is a heroic story narrated of a single individual, Beowulf, and his journey. (Beowulf) is considered one of the most important works of literature. The author of Beowulf was an anonymous poet, referred to as the “Christian Beowulf poet”. The Beowulf poem, movie and other readings have a vast amount of similarities and differences, especially on the Western view of “women as the downfall of man”.

The Beowulf movie may have some similarities to the poem, but the majority of the movie is far different from the poem itself. There is a major contrast in the characters and their actions in both the poem and the movie. The male characters in the movie tend to be lured in by Grednel’s mother, which later leads to a major downfall. An example is when King Hrothgar, a great warrior in his time, can’t combat the evil within a water demon, Grednel’s mother, but is instead lured by her charm, and it is later implied that he had impregnated her, leading him to be Grendel’s father. The hideous troll like monster, Grendel, also known as Hrothgar’s son, has caused a massive destruction to his kingdom, leaving the majority of his people dead, which eventually leads to Beowulf slaying him. Contrary to the movie, King Hrothgar was married to Wealhtheow, and never cheated on her with Grendel’s mother. Instead he tried his best to keep his distance. King Hrothgar is a wise aged ruler, but can’t seem to defeat Grendel, which leads him to seek help from Beowulf (9). Beowulf then travels the sea to help Hrothgar defeat Grendel to repay him for helping his father in war, when he was younger. Another character affected by “women being a downfall of man” is Beowulf.

In the movie, Beowulf was easily tempted by women, unlike in the poem. For instance, Beowulf lies about killing Grendel’s mother, for he is instead seduced by her and demands Beowulf to give her a son to replace Grendel. Beowulf then impregnates her, and becomes the father of a vicious dragon, who later destroys his kingdom. On the other hand, in the poem Beowulf goes after Grendel’s mother and fights her with the sword given to him by Unferth. During the battle, Beowulf’s sword breaks, and Grendnel´s mother tries stabbing him, but he’s protected by his armour. Beowulf then finds a sword and used it to kill Grendel’s mother by stabbing her in her neck, eventually killing her (20). An additional contradiction between the poem and the movie was the way the movie ended. The movie adds suspense to the ending, for it continues on with the plot where Wiglaf, Beowulf’s fellow warrior, is then again lured by Grendel’s mother, revealing he may be her next victim. One final comparison of the poem and movie is the characteristics Grendel’s mother has. In both the poem and movie, Grendel’s mother is evil and “has been brooding over her loss, bent on revenge” (17). Contrary to the poem, Grendel’s mother is a monster disguised as a beautiful creature rather than a troll like beast like Grendel. She’s also very manipulative, sneaky, seductive, and sly in order to get what she wants.

In Rossetti’s poem, Goblin Market, Laura and Lizzie, two virgin maids are face to face with temptation. The first time the sisters are tempted by goblin men was towards the beginning of the poem, starting from line 3 and ending on line 31. As soon as the poem begins, the two unmarried, virgin maids hear the goblin men crying for them to come buy their “fruits” in this case, the fruits symbolize sexual parts. The goblin men continue tempting the two maids to buy their fruits, but the women do not give in that easily, leading the goblin men to be more sneaky. Later in the poem, Laura is curious about the fruit and wants to try it, but Lizzie does not yet let her. This eventually tempts Laura to give in to the goblin’s game, which leads her to no longer be pure or holy (272). At that very moment Laura came to her senses and realized she could never go back in time to change the situation she placed herself in. Temptation occurs various times throughout this poem just like the following poems: Genesis and Pandora. In the bible, a reading from Genesis states how Adam and Eve were put in a haven called Garden of Eden. This garden consisted of delicious fruits, and multiple trees which were filled with all things good or evil.

God puts both Adam and Eve to the test to see if they will be tempted or obedient to his commands. God made it very clear how the individuals could eat from any tree besides the “tree of knowledge” (Genesis 2) . Nevertheless, Eve was soon tempted by Satan to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. As Eve finished taking a bite of the fruit (apple), she enticed Adam to take a bite. After eating the fruit, God later found out about their sinful action and they were both banished from the garden. This was the start of wrongdoing, which evolved into immoral behavior. In the poem Pandora, Zeus inquired if Hephaestus, the god of craftsmanship, could create a girl who would later be named Pandora. Pandora was a woman brought up by different God’s who “were asked to give her a special trait” (59) to ultimately punish man. Pandora was given a box from the God’s, but was not allowed to ever open. Pandora is easily tempted, for she is curious to know what’s in the box, she then opens the box letting all evil into the world.

In conclusion, women have been viewed as the downfall of mankind. A vast amount of sins have arisen from temptation. Temptation is used to test our curiosity, and give individuals the chance to choose right from wrong. Curiosity, desire, or fear of loss usually is the main cause of acting out on temptation. In the Beowulf movie, Goblin Market, Genesis, and Pandora, temptation desired certain individuals to engage in short-term urges for enjoyment or pleasure, which affected them in the long-term.

Epic Poem: Beowulf essay

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Epic Poem: Beowulf. (2020, Sep 12). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/epic-poem-beowulf/


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