Literary analysis on beowulf including: Imagery, conflict, and characterizatio.
The Angles, Saxons, and Jutes invaded England after the Romans left in the fifth century. The poem Beowulf shapes and interprets material connected with the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. Three elements that help develop the poem Beowulf are imagery, conflict, and characterization. The story of Beowulf’s heroic adventure would not have held the same impact without the brilliant use of imagery. For example, the grotesque description from Beowulf about how Grendel would murder him has amazing imagery. “Gendel will carry our bloody flesh to the moors, crunch on our bones and smear torn scraps of our skin on the walls of his den. That excerpt gives an amazing mental picture and a sense of Grendel’s ruthlessness. Without the imagery, Grendel wouldn’t seem so callous and Beowulf so brave. Another great example of imagery is when Grendel entered the main hall and carried off thirty warriors. “Snatched up thirty men, smashed them, unknowing in their beds and ran out with their bodies, the blood dripping behind them. ” This quote also has great impact on the development of Grendel’s character as well as the story. The last example of imagery is used during the battle between Beowulf and Grendel’s mother. Bloody foam on the water of a pool reveals that the thane’s body has been carried below to the monster’s den. Hideous sea serpents pay about the surface of the water. ” One can almost feel the thickness of the air with that description. Without imagery, the poem would not have the same impact and the characters wouldn’t seem so heroic. There were many conflicts throughout Beowulf. One conflict was with Unferth and Beowulf. Unferth starts out telling an untrue story about Beowulf that projects him in a negative light.
Then Beowulf rebuttals with the fact that Unferth is drunk, and retells the story truthfully. “Ah! Unferth my friend, your face is hot with ale and your tounge has tried to tell us about Brecca’s doings. But the truth is simple… ” Another conflict was between Grendel and Beowulf. Beowulf leaves Hrothgar, his king, and the rest of his people to battle Grendel, a monster who terrorizes the Geats. In the end, Beowulf won the battle. “The battle was over, Beowulf had been granted new glory. ” The last conflict involved Grendel’s mother and Beowulf.
Later on, after Beowulf defeated Grendel, his mother came to Herot to avenge her son. Once again, Beowulf defeats her. “At last he over comes her, and spying a magic sword, he clutched it with one violent stroke cuts off her head. ” The conflicts included in Beowulf are the backbone of the poem; without them, there wouldn’t be a story. Beowulf’s characterization is developed in three different ways. The first way we get to know Beowulf is through his own speech and actions. We learn of Beowulf’s amazing heroism while he is speaking to the Danes about Grendel.
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Even though he foresees his own death, he continued with the attempt to battle Grendel. “Let me live in greatness and courage, or here in this hall welcome by death! ” This also further develops the theme: courage and bravery in the face of impending doom. Although Beowulf knew he was going to die, he went on. The second way Beowulf’s character is introduced is by the way other characters respond to his actions and words. During the conflict with Unferth and Beowulf, Unferth validates how prideful Beowulf is. “All older and wiser heads warned you not to, but no one could check such pride. The third way Beowulf’s character is developed is through the authors description of Beowulf’s actions, words, or thoughts. “The victory over Grendel is celebrated with feasting, drinking, and the giving of gifts to Beowulf and his followers. ” This quote from the poem shows how well respected Beowulf was by Hrothgar’s followers. The epic poem Beowulf is a great piece of art with a wonderful plot. Imagery, conflict, and characterization are just some of the literary elements that helped develop the poem as a whole. Without those elements, the story would not have nearly as much meaning.