Symbols In Beowulf

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The spirit of the epic poem Beowulf is defined by the literary elements that the story incorporates. There are three essential elements that clearly stand out in the poem. First, the characters of the story represent important Anglo-Saxon values. Second, the imagery that Beowulf utilizes help make its ideals clear to the reader. Third, the events that take place in the story reflect the principles of Anglo-Saxon culture. In the section of the story where Beowulf fights Grendel, these elements of character, imagery, and events are extremely important as to how they define the spirit of the poem. The characters of Beowulf represent various values that Anglo-Saxons sought to incorporate in both their daily lives and on the battlefield. There are three characters that stand out as models for these values. First, Beowulf, the protagonist and hero of the poem, represents strength. For example, when Beowulf is ready to enter…show more content…
There are three different uses of literary imagery that the author utilizes to support the story. First, kenning is used to heighten the brooding presence of Grendel. For example, Grendel is described as a “God-cursed” (711) “shadow-stalker” (703), portraying him as an ungodly, demonic creature. This shows how Anglo-Saxons regarded those that committed egregious sins or turned their back to Christianity. Second, metaphor is used to foreshadow Beowulf’s inevitable triumph. For example, God is described as “weaving / a victory on His war-loom for the Weather-Geats” (697-698). This shows how God always supports those that fight under His name for the sake of good. Third, alliteration is used to build up to the climax of Grendel’s defeat. For example, the author writes “Stalwart in action, they kept striking out / on every side, seeking to cut / straight to the soul” (797-799). This use of language stresses the camaraderie and sense of purpose that virtuous warriors

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