[Review] Beowulf


Title: Beowulf
Author: Unknown
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Genre: Fiction, Old English Heroic Epic Poem
Theme: Heroic Beowulf rescues a kingdom from a monster named Grendel.
Format: eBook, Kindle
Age: Adult or young adult
Pages: 252 KB, 117 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Free on Kindle. 
File:Beowulf and the dragon.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beowulf

According to Wikipedia: "Beowulf is an Old English Heroic Epic Poem. It was written sometime in the 8th to early 11th centuries. Beowulf was studied in the late 18th century and published in its entirety in 1815."
Way back, when I was in high school we read Beowulf. I hated it. I had a poor attitude.
I decided recently to re-read it (or rather read it for the first time as I did not read it when I was supposed to in high school). I was familiar with the story, but had not read it in its entirety until yesterday. The Kindle edition I read was quality, no unusual breaks or odd spacing. Explanatory words are given to help with the translation and characters. Even though it is translated to English from old Anglo-Saxon, some words are not familiar to our era.

Summary:
King Hrothgar is king of the Danes, or Scyldings. A monster named Grendel attacks and carries off many of Hrothgar's men, mutilating and eating them. Grendel punishes this kingdom with his violence, the people are fearful and tired. Beowulf of the Geats, hears of Hrothgar's troubles. Beowulf chooses 14 men and they travel across the sea to the land of the Danes, to slay Grendel and help this tortured kingdom. Later, Beowulf will fight Grendel's mother and a dragon.

My Thoughts:
This is the second epic poem I've read this year, the first being Homer's Odyssey. In the Odyssey the hero was helped by the god Zeus's daughter Athena. Beowulf had only his own human strength, battle experience, confidence, and wisdom to use.
The character Beowulf is a man whom other men praised, he was what they wished to be like. He was larger than life, a man's man; a cunning and crafty and strong warrior. If Beowulf had existed he would throughout generations be remembered for his heroism. His story would have been elaborated on and become part fiction and part truth. People regardless of race, religion, politics, love a hero. The fictional Beowulf is remembered through this epic poem, for selfless bravery in traveling to another country and slaying a monster to free its people. Beowulf was willing to sacrifice his own life (although he exuded confidence).
How do I feel about the story of Beowulf? I enjoyed it. I get it. I appreciate it.
Am I glad I read this story? Definitely. I was a young girl way back then, because I sat in the corner of the classroom and wished to be unnoticed I probably was lost to the teacher and lost to the curriculum. I work well on my own, I work better now that I'm mature. 
What did I learn in this story that surprised me or I found interesting? Grendel is from the race of Cain. Cain who slew his brother Abel. Further, the Dane people felt that Beowulf was sent by God to them to be, "a solace."
A favorite quote:
"What is life without honor? The dastardly deed. Death is more pleasant. To every earlman than infamous life is!"

Youtube link for movie:


Further links:
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/180445
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16328/16328-h/16328-h.htm
http://historymedren.about.com/od/beowulf/p/beowulf.htm
http://historymedren.about.com/od/beowulf/Beowulf.htm
Remounted page from Beowulf, British Library Cotton Vitellius A.XV

Comments

  1. Hi Annette, I found your post/blog through the Classics Club on Goodreads. I really enjoyed your review of Beowulf! It is one of my favourite classics. Beowulf is really a new man ….. all this actions do not follow the old pagan blood-feud society but reveal a new society that will develop and I feel that Wiglaf showed this "new thinking" as well.

    The Monsters and the Critics is an interesting essay by J.R.R. Tolkien that addresses the poem and its possibilities. It found it very insightful.

    I'm so glad that I found your blog!

    ReplyDelete

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