Beowulf is the Anglo-Saxon epic poem which is considered to be one of the first recorded examples of the Old English literature. The action takes place in Scandinavia and describes the events which preceded the movement of the Angles to The British Isles. The text is named after the main character, Beowulf, a strong and brave Geats warrior who managed to defeat the terrible monster Grendel, which terrorized the lands around. Beowulf also killed Grendel’s mother and the dragon which devastated the surrounding settlements and this victory soon made him the king of the Geats in Scandinavia. The text was written in the 8th century and survived undamaged till our days. It is the largest text written in the Old English language and is considered to be the single and the oldest example of the Germanic barbaric literature of Europe.
It is obvious that the text was written before the process of the Christianization of Europe and the author glorifies the pagan traditions, traits of character and moral values. For example, Beowulf is fearless and brave in combat, devoted to the chief of the tribe and merciless to his enemies. The world described in the poem is historically credible, because the people, lands and settlements really existed and are connected with the Scandinavian legends and folklore, but the name of Beowulf was not mentioned elsewhere, so it is possible to guess that the character is fictitious. Beowulf has always fascinated readers even the modern ones, no wonder, the poem has been translated into many languages and several movies have been shot on its basis.
Traditionally, Beowulf is supposed to be the poem which describes the eternal conflict of the good and the evil and a student who has chosen to write a Beowulf term paper should remember about it. A good term paper should explain the plot of the poem; describe its main characters, ideas, problems and theme. One should read the poem attentively not to miss anything essential for the analysis and take advantage of the serious and reliable sources which will help with the analysis. For example, one can read critics of the experienced writers and experts in old literature and encyclopaedias which present the historical and cultural background to the poem. In the end, a student is expected to focus on the importance of Beowulf for the English and world literature and prove his point of view.
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