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Poem About Beowulf

Beowulf is the conventional title of an Old English epic poem. It is set in Scandinavia and is the oldest surviving long poem in Old English. Written in England, its composition by an unknown Anglo-Saxon poet and   is dated between the 8th and the early 11th century. In the poem, Beowulf poem,  a hero of Scandinavia, comes to the aid of Hroðgar, the king of the Danes, whose drinking hall is  under attack by a monster known as Grendel. After Beowulf kills him Grendel’s mother attacks the hall and is then also killed.  Victorious, Beowulf goes home to Geatland in Sweden and later becomes king of the Geats. After a period of fifty years has passed, Beowulf defeats a dragon but is fatally wounded in the battle.

After his death, his attendants bury him in a tumulus, a burial mound, in Geatland. The events in the poem happened during  the late 5th century, after the Angles and Saxons had started coming to settle in  England, which was  before the beginning of the 7th century, a time when the Anglo-Saxon people had just come to England  and were in  close contact with their Germanic kinsmen in Northern Germany and Scandinavia including England.  The poem may have been brought to England by people of Geatish origins. It has been suggested that Beowulf was first composed in the 7th century at Rendlesham in East Anglia, as the Sutton Hoo ship-burial also shows close connections with Scandinavia, and also that the East Anglian royal dynasty, the Wuffings, may have been descendants of Geatish Wulfings. Others have associated this poem with the court of King Alfred, or with the court of King Cnut.

The poem deals with legends and was composed for entertainment only. Therefore, it does not separate between imagined rudiments and real historic events, such as the raid by King Hygelac into Frisia. Scholars generally agree that many of the personalities of Beowulf also appear in Scandinavian sources. This does not only concern people but also clans. The dating of the events in the poem has been confirmed by archaeological excavations of the barrows indicated by Snorri Sturluson and by Swedish tradition as the graves of Ohthere and his son Eadgils in Upp-land, Sweden.

Beowulf is a classic poem because the main character is a hero who travels great distances to prove his strength against supernatural demons and beasts. Although the poem begins with Beowulf’s arrival, Grendel’s attacks have been a continuous occurrence. An intricate narration of characters and their lineages is illustrated, as well as their interactions with each other, debts owed and repaid, and deeds of valor. The warriors form a kind of brotherhood called a “comitatus”, which constitutes  an ethical basis for all words, deeds, and actions.

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