The theme of the epic poem Beowulf

Essay by Lushy1108High School, 12th grade October 2002

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Ever since Cain killed his brother Abel, death and murder have been a part of human society. The man always killed the other man, physically or mentally, to gain something for himself, something that may be a tangible thing such as food or money, or intangible things such as power or pride. Throughout the British epic poem Beowulf, there are many killings and deaths. Grendel (a gigantic, troll-like ogre) kills Danish thanes, Beowulf comes to the rescue and kills Grendel and his mother. Also Beowulf kills a dragon and gets killed by the dragon. The most important theme of the great epic poem Beowulf is 'death.' By the death of the enemy, characters in the poem earn pride and dignity.

The poem is about a hero from the land of the Geats to help the kingdom of Danes. Danes have a place called Heorot, a huge mead-hall, and one night without warning, Grendel attacks the hall, because of his jealousy of human society.

Grendel is a hideous monster, similar to a troll or an ogre. He envies the fellowship and happiness he sees; he hates living the fens, excluded from the company of men; so, he stalks the moors, jealous of the pleasure of mankind.

Hrothgar, the King of Danes, is old and physically unable to avenge the deaths of his thanes. When Beowulf hears about Hrothgar's situation, he decides to help him by fighting with Grendel. First he fights with Grendel in the Heorot when he attacks the hall. Beowulf cracks one of the Grendel's arms free of its socket, ripping sinews and tearing muscles. Grendel runs away and Beowulf follows his bloody trail but does not find the dead body of Grendel. Heorot is rebuilt and redecorated removing all the marks of Grendel's attack. King Hrothgar...