Beowulf: Worthless To Modern Society

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Why Beowulf is (Almost) Worthless to Modern Society Who doesn’t love battles against terrorizing monsters and fire-breathing dragons? Such battles in modern day movies and literature are commonplace, all thanks to one source: Beowulf. When the ancient text was rediscovered by J.R.R. Tolkien, more than just a bundle of old paper was released; an entire new world of ideas was unleashed on the future world of literature. Stories such as Lord of the Rings (written by Tolkien himself), Star Wars, and The Matrix were all inspired by the tale of the great warrior. In fact, Beowulf even sparked the creation of “The Hero’s Journey”, or the classic pattern followed by a hero in a work of literature. Therefore, one could assume that Beowulf is relevant…show more content…
To put it bluntly, it is easier to understand a science research paper than Beowulf. Epic poems are notoriously difficult to read, and this story is certainly no exception. “By morning they’d decided to sleep on the shore, Lying on their backs, their blood spilled out” (Anonymous 24) could simply be rephrased as “I savagely killed the monsters” which would still provide some detail yet would continue the story at a crisper pace. In the current age where technology and instant gratification rules, it is more important than ever to minimize the time and effort needed to get a message across, and Beowulf simply doesn’t adhere to this. Modern day readers are used to smooth flowing words and quick abbreviations, not the rubbish used in Beowulf. In fact, Old English (or its translation like in our classes’ version) can stunt the growth of adolescents reading it. When Beowulf was describing his fight against the sea monsters, he says “nine was the number of sea-monsters I killed” (Anonymous 25). This is an example of using a passive verb over an active verb, which is strictly frowned upon by the modern school system. If Beowulf can’t teach proper English to young students, why should it continue to have relevance in modern

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