Motif Of Identity In Beowulf

1301 Words6 Pages
In the epic Beowulf, a hero arises as the character Beowulf saves King Hrothgar of Denmark’s Kingdom. The monster Grendel terrorizes Hrothgar’s mead hall, Herot, every night. He kills many Danes and is a big threat to the kingdom. While this occurs King Hrothgar asks Beowulf for help. Beowulf agrees because Hrothgar did a huge favor for Beowulf’s father. He sails to Denmark and defeats Grendel with no armor. After, he wins this battle he is faced with one right after. The next one he is faced with is Grendel’s mother who is seeking revenge after her son’s death. Beowulf defeats Grendel’s mother where Hrothgar is left with no treacherous monsters. This epic is the oldest surviving epic poem in the English language. There has been many critics…show more content…
These literary criticisms all have a parallel theme on how Beowulf has been misinterpreted through scribes and viewers. In the following essay, a motif of the importance of establishing identity of ancestral heritage and individual reputation will be shown as not identified in Beowulf. As well as the tensions between religion and social issues in the Anglo Saxon time and how the issues were changed by scribers and not interpreted to the fullest extent. Beowulf is unlike any other writing. It is an Anglo Saxon epic poem that shows heroism in its greatest aspect. The critical analyst, Julie Sobchack criticizes this writing to draw conclusions from the Middle Ages. Since the Middle Ages were so long ago, there are only a few pieces left from this time to use to better understand history. According to Sobchack, “His prose sings with the alliterative sounds of that language, while his choice of words evokes a world so far behind us it is now almost beyond recall, a vast history full of mist and shadow”…show more content…
She feels like this interpretation will be better. According to Sobchack, “It is difficult to say how clearly Beowulf represents the Christianity of that early time, as the poem never mentions Christ or his sacrifice, two founding principles of that religion” (Sobchack 12). This supports Sobchack’s claim on how the Christianity inserts in the poem might not have fully been an interpretation of the religion during this time period. However, in some ways the poem is referred to the Old Testament and describes characters such as Grendel as the descendant of Cain. This shows how Grendel had been the first murderer just like the Bible. This shows how throughout Beowulf there are insertions from Christianity. “Yet the invocation of Christian values is not what has given this poem its remarkable longevity” (Sobchack 12). Sobchack believes that when Beowulf came to early Britain it was not of Christian origin. This brings her conclusion that the story of Beowulf is pre-Christian. The insertions of Christian origin throughout the epic impacted the story to more of a Christian belief rather than making the story more about the culture of the time. Evidence through this epic shows its similarities to The Odyssey. This supports Sobchack’s theory that Beowulf is better told without the added inserts of

More about Motif Of Identity In Beowulf

Open Document