How To Die And Beowulf Comparison

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In Seamus Heaney's translation of the epic poem Beowulf and Siegfried Sassoon's poem "How to Die," the themes of the irrationality of war, the perception of fate and death, and honor are expressed differently as Beowulf has a positive connotation with war, while Sassoon writes with an anti-war tone. In Beowulf, war is portrayed through the Danish and Geatish societies as positive, as you can fight against the villains of the town, bringing victory to your community. For example, when Beowulf was fighting the dragon, he "shall fight… / as long as this sword / shall last" (2498-2500). Beowulf has been brought up in the poem as a very heroic person, who thrills on the thought of war and is always willing to fight. He views war in a very rational way, where death is accepted in his mind.…show more content…
It provided vivid imagery of a soldier dying, looking up to God, while bombs are being exploded. The first stanza of the poem is society's perception of a soldier's death. For instance, the solider is portrayed as "[lifting] his fingers toward the sky / Where Holy brightness breaks in flame" (5,6). The action of "lifting his fingers toward the sky" symbolizes defeat and death, thus characterizing society's views of a honorable death. The diction of "holy brightness" could represent a trace of religion, where God is watching over you. Sassoon included this phrase as he shows how society is blinded by war and its destruction. In Beowulf, society views constant conflict as a problem, but do not think much of death, besides the death of their biggest proponent, Beowulf. While the poem Beowulf and "How to die" have different societal views and expectation of a warriors death, they have quite similar perceptions of fate and the inevitability of

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