A Technical Reading of Beowulf

Within the Old English epic poem entitled âBeowulf,â? one theme dominates: to overcome chaos and establish order, a fearless individual must continually fight the force of evil. Even after the poemâs protagonist, Beowulf, victoriously destroys Grendel, the personification of chaos and evil, Beowulfâs battles are not over. Grendelâs mother remains alive and an immediate threat. It is she who was the source of Grendelâs life, she who bore him in her womb, and it is thus she who is the source of the evil against which Beowulf found it his duty to fight. The ensuing battle between Beowulf and Grendelâs mother is the second of the poemâs three battles, and the authorâs description of the violent conflict is a central and important passage of the work. Within the passage the author utilizes literary techniques that aid in the presentation of this important segment of the poem. These techniques include alliteration, personification, and powerful diction. The techniques can be traced throughout the entire passage.

Prior to this passage, which occurs approximately in the middle of the poemâs plot, Beowulf traveled to a âdistant Danish shoreâ? from his native Geatland, with the intent of ridding the foreign soil of the infamously brutal...

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