Epic Of Beowulf Essay Shields In The Epic Poem, Beowulf

1038 words - 4 pages

Shields in the poem Beowulf

 
    Shields, a defensive weapon mentioned in the poem Beowulf, include a variety of compositions from wood to iron; and this is wholly in accord with archaeological finds. There are a considerable number of references to shields in the poem, making this topic a very relevant one to consider.

 

“Weapons could be heirlooms, and royal treasuries and armories still preserve arms and weapons from earlier days, so imagination in this area need not be confined to contemporary artifacts (304),” says Catherine M. Hills in “Beowulf and Archaeology.” Before turning to the archaeological evidence, let’s look at the Beowulf poem, where one finds copious references to shields. As Beowulf and his party approach the Danish land:

 

From high on a wall                  the Scylding watchman

whose duty it was                     to guard the sea-cliffs

saw glinting shield-bosses          passed hand to hand

down the gangplank,                 an army’s war-gear (229-32)

 

The Scylding watchman is still talking:

 

Never more openly                   have warriors landed

when carrying shields,   and you have no leave

from our men of battle, agreement with kinsmen (244-6)

 

Beowulf explains to the ship-guard:

 

We come with good heart         to the land of the Danes,

to seek out your lord,                the son of Healfdene,

shield of the people (267-9)

 

By the time the Geats arrived at Heorot, they were tired and had to sit down:

 

The sea-weary men                  set their broad shields,

spell-hardened rims,                  against the high wall,

eased down on benches (325-27)

 

A haughty noble asked the Weders about their lineage:

 

From where have you               carried  those gold-trimmed shields,

iron-gray corselets,                   and grim mask-helmets (333-4)

 

Finally the Geats get to meet King Hrothgar:

 

Now you may enter,                 in your battle-armor,

wearing war-masks,                  to see Hrothgar;

let shields stay here,                  tightened war-wood (395-7)

 

The poetic device of variation used in the last cited line, “tightened war-wood,” provides an obvious clue to the composition of the Geats’ shields. Later this changes, when the hero has to face the fiery dragon which would incinerate a wooden shield; so he has an iron shield made for himself. The shield composition in the poem is consistent with data from The Columbia Encyclopedia: “Shields were made of hide or wood, often reinforced with metal, and could be round, oblong, or rectangular.” Are these references (a small sampling) to shields realistic, or just an imaginative concoction of the poet? “It is remarkable that the elaborate descriptions of the weapons, armor, long-ships, halls, and funeral practices correspond closely to...

Find Another Essay On Epic of Beowulf Essay - Shields in the Epic Poem, Beowulf

The theme of the epic poem Beowulf

639 words - 3 pages rescue and kills Grendel and his mother. Also Beowulf kills a dragon and gets killed by the dragon. The most important theme of the great epic poem Beowulf is 'death.' By the death of the enemy, characters in the poem earn pride and dignity.The poem is about a hero from the land of the Geats to help the kingdom of Danes. Danes have a place called Heorot, a huge mead-hall, and one night without warning, Grendel attacks the hall, because of his

Analysis of Epic Poem Beowulf

1647 words - 7 pages Beowulf is the conventional title of an Old English epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature due to the fact that it is the oldest surviving epic poem of Old English and also the earliest vernacular English literature. Tragedy and epic have been much discussed as separate genres, but critics have not hesitated to designate certain

Digressions in the Epic Poem, Beowulf

2165 words - 9 pages Digressions in Beowulf             A prominent stylistic feature in the poem Beowulf is the number and length of digressions. “Much of the controversy surrounding the poet’s digressiveness has arisen from the fact that we have not yet discovered or admitted why he digresses in the first place” (Tripp 63). In this essay we hope to help answer that question.   The longest digression, almost 100 verses, is the story of Finn, which

Beowulf & Grendel vs. Beowulf, the Epic Poem

799 words - 4 pages Many different works of literature are later remade into a visual piece. The visual versions, however, do not usually tell the story the same as exact as their written counterparts. In the case of the epic poem, Beowulf, this is also true. There are many similarities between the movie and the poem, and there are also many differences. In the opening seconds of the film you are already able to see differences from the poem. The poem begins with

The Epic of Beowulf

1619 words - 6 pages " present in many of today's literature pieces, have more than likely been influenced by the epic poem Beowulf. The first of its kind, Beowulf exemplifies well-written literature that has made such a big impact on film, text, and general media. It has influenced many writers' styles, and has been the foundation for many films in the media. When we turn on the television, we often see movies or shows that showcase the theme of a godly hero, whose

The Epic of Beowulf

1227 words - 5 pages actions. In the epic poem, Beowulf the authors portrays Grendel as a cold-hearted beast who thrives on the pain of others. Many have disagreed with such a simplistic and biased representation of Grendel and his role in the epic poem. John Gardner in his book, Grendel set out to change the reader’s perception of Grendel and his role in Beowulf by narrating the story through Grendel’s point of view. John Gardner transforms the perceived terrible evil

The Epic Poem, Beowulf - Vengeance and Revenge in Beowulf

1323 words - 5 pages Vengeance and Revenge in Beowulf   The oldest of the great lengthy poems written in English and perhaps the lone survivor of a genre of Anglo-Saxon epics, Beowulf, was written by an unknown Christian author at a date that is only estimated.  Even so, it is a remarkable narrative story in which the poet reinvigorates the heroic language, style, and values of Germanic oral poetry.  He intertwines a number of themes including good and evil

An Analysis of the Epic Poem, Beowulf - Characterization of Beowulf

1995 words - 8 pages Characterization of Beowulf             The dialogue, action and motivation revolve about the characters in the poem (Abrams 32-33). It is the purpose of this essay to demonstrate the types of characters present in the anonymously written Anglo-Saxon poem, Beowulf - whether static or dynamic, whether flat or round, and whether protrayed through showing or telling.   At the very outset of the poem the reader is introduced, through

The Epic Poem, Beowulf - A Jungian Reading of Beowulf

793 words - 3 pages A Jungian Reading of Beowulf          The epic poem, Beowulf, depicts the battles and victories of the Anglo-Saxon warrior Beowulf, over man-eating monsters. The noble defender, Beowulf, constantly fought monsters and beasts to rid the land of evil. The most significant of these monsters, Grendel, represents Beowulf's shadow, the Jungian archetype explored in the essay collection, Meeting the Shadow.   The character Grendel

Analysis of the Epic Poem, Beowulf - Beowulf and Caedmon’s Hymn

2319 words - 9 pages Lord wise and holy, will give war-glory to whichever side He thinks the right.” Thus the hero expressed total reliance on God – which in the Christian scheme of things is the way it is supposed to be. He is truly a Christian hero at this stage of the poem.   God stood alongside the hero in his monster combats, even providing a magic sword against the mother, and in his feud-repayments. But towards the end of the epic, when Beowulf was

Epic of Beowulf Essay - Beowulf as Epic Hero

871 words - 3 pages outstanding courage were admired the populous.  These warriors fought for their leader and tribe in return for treasure and protection.  This relationship between the lord and his men was the basis of the Anglo-Saxon society.  The epic poem "Beowulf" is a perfect example of how this system worked in these trying times. The warrior in the Anglo-Saxon civilization had many duties to fulfill.  He was obligated to respect and protect his lord as

Similar Essays

The Epic Poem Beowulf Essay

2323 words - 9 pages           Beowulf is an epic poem. Why? Because (1) it is a long narrative work that relates the adventures of a great hero and (2) it reflects the values of the Anglo-Saxon society in which it was written prior to 1000AD. This Old English poem in unrhymed, four-beat alliterative style narrates, through the course of about 3200 verses, the bold killing of two monsters, Grendel and his Mother, and a fire-dragon, as well as numerous other

The Pessimism Of Beowulf In The Epic Poem, Beowulf

2922 words - 12 pages     Anticipation of catastrophe, doom, gloom are present in Beowulf rom beginning to end, even in the better half of the poem, Part I. Perhaps this is part of what makes it an elegy – the repeated injection of sorrow and lamentation into every episode. In his essay, “The Pessimism of Many Germanic Stories,” A. Kent Hieatt says of the poem Beowulf: The ethical life of the poem, then, depends upon the propositions that evil. . . that is

Epic Of Beowulf Essay Alliteration In Beowulf

1355 words - 5 pages requirements of alliteration. In his essay “The Making of an Anglo-Saxon Poem,” Robert P. Creed agrees that alliteration was the poet’s basis for making his choice of words:   I shall therefore take only a very small portion of Beowulf, eight verses (four lines), and attempt, by means of references to similar verses and lines in the rest of the poem and in other surviving Anglo-Saxon poems, to illustrate the thesis that the making of any Anglo-Saxon

Epic Of Beowulf Essay The Conflicts In Beowulf

2040 words - 8 pages The Conflicts in Beowulf              Brian Wilkie and James Hurt in Literature of the Western World discuss what is perhaps the overriding or central conflict in the poem Beowulf, namely the struggle between good and evil, and how the monsters are representative of the evil side: Ker was answered in 1936 by the critic and novelist J.R.R. Tolkien, author of Lord of the Rings, who argued that “the monsters are not an inexplicable blunder of
queen anne | Eli Marienthal | Conspiracion y Poder