Beowulf Deeper Understanding

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade October 2001

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In the epic poem Beowulf there is a more universal understanding that can be seen once a reader has taken the time to look deeper into the text of the poem. A characters intentions are not always seen instantaneously. To understand the full meaning of why someone might go out of their way to help another is not always in the kindness of their own heart. A more intense and complicated plot is behind the thoughts of a character named Beowulf. Everything he does always has a catch to it and requires more then a personal thank you.

In the poem Beowulf has three battles against foes. The first foe that he encountered was the man beast Grendel. Grendel lived in Denmark, which was a great distance from Beowulf's homeland. On his journey to Grendel he came upon and slayed nicors. Nicors are sea demons and their occurrence in his journey brought Beowulf more honors.

The significance of Beowulf's journey and the killing of those beasts was that they brought him glory. This glory was not only shown through his pride although it was also shown through the inhabatince of the land towards Beowulf. The people of the land also gave him precious gifts. These gifts brought out the self-centered and materialistic sides of Beowulf. He didn't slay Grendel to help the people, because his intentions of getting a reward were not accepted out of the kindness of his heart. They were accepted in the sense that he knew that he deserved them and that they should be required to pay him tribute to his greatness.

The following foe the Beowulf slayed was Grendel's mother. His mother wasn't of any threat to the Danes until Beowulf killed her son. This caused a sedate and...