In the course of time, many heroes have made their name and many stories have been written to proclaim their greatness. However, none as captivating as Beowulf. This Anglo-Saxon epic demonstrates its power with beautiful language, usage of kennings, metaphors, similes, and alliteration. Also, it gives wondrous supernatural beings as in God, and even of powerful creatures as Grendel. On the other hand, it has human struggles and afflictions.
The very first element that is discovered by reading this epic is the lofty language that is used. Although, having read only and excerpt, the writing is as glorious as the story itself. Alliteration usage and can easily recognized in line 33, “He found them sprawled in sleep, suspecting nothing” which demonstrates the “s” sound. Another example of alliteration at work using the “p” sound is line 160, “From my prince, no permission from my people for your landing here.”
Metaphors provide a distinct characteristic as in line 30 describing terror as “darkness had dropped.” Line 128 when sailing across the sea, describing the seas “beating” on the sand. There are few similes but one that stands out most in line 133. “The ship foamed through the sea like a bird” Using like to describe the similarity of the bird and how the ship traveled across the sea. Probably the most important element of language are the kennings which describe something simple so indirectly. Line 241 describes darkness or night by stating how the moon hangs. Also line 325 describes Grendel in two different kennings as one form of evil.
Every hero has their way of fighting evil or protecting from it. In order to fight a supernatural being, one must have a superhuman power which brings us to another characteristic of epic poetry. The very first supernatural being described is the almighty God in lines 7-3 in the beginning. God is definitely been a supernatural being because of his ability and powers that he possesses. He is mostly associated with the Earths origin and its inhibitors. Monsters are also form of supernatural being. In this epic Grendel provokes death and cannibalizes human without thought but also enjoying it. What makes him so powerful is his appetite for people and how he acquires it. Without doubt the most obvious superhuman character must be Beowulf. Most recognized by inhuman strength and bravery. Humans greatest fear or enemy is death but Beowulf is not intimidated by death which proves him to be superhuman and uncommon among our race.
In a heroic epic poem, the most important element must as always and sometimes is the hero himself or herself. To be classified as a hero, one of the most important characteristic that must be included is devotion to duty and have a worth cause. Beowulf proves his nobility by venturing across the sea to fight evil bringing honor for his King Higlac. As noticed, in the section “The Coming of Beowulf” he (Beowulf) has mentioned his king more than once, not owning all the bravery to himself. Beowulf is devoted to his duty by immediately adjusting the problem, but without a doubt, his travels were all for a worthy cause which is to kill evil and end suffering.
Having all there elements mentioned, Beowulf holds true to its title as a heroic epic poem.