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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

beowulf

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Beowulf


The epic poem Beowulf, written in Old English by Christian


monks around 750 AD, is a wonderful adventure story about a warrior who


kills ferocious monsters. The use of description and imagery enlivens


Custom writing service can write essays on beowulf


the story, making it possible for a reader to really see in his or her


mind the characters and events. Metaphors, exaggeration, and


alliteration are three devices that together allow the reader to


experience this poem which is quite different than most other poetry.


A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase that


ordinarily means one thing is applied to another thing to suggest a


likeness between the two. Metaphors are used extensively throughout the


poem to paint a more colorful picture in the listeners mind. These


metaphors are used in phrases called kennings. A kenning is a


descriptive, poetical expression used instead of a simple name for a


person or thing. Beowulf is hardly ever called by his actual name.


Instead there are many kennings referring to him, such as Prince of


the Weders, The Son of Ecgtheow, The Geatish hero, and The Lord of


the Seamen. These kennings describe Beowulf to us in a more interesting


way than just stating the hard facts. Without these kennings Beowulf


would be less interesting and we would learn less about him. Anybody


would say that describing or referring to a person by his or her name


over and over again is boring. So the use of kennings and metaphors is


very important in this long epic poem.


Exaggeration is another device to make Beowulf a more


interesting, entertaining, and dramatic poem. For example, even though


this story is a fantasy, it is hard to believe that the character of


Beowulf would be able to kill a monster like Grendel with his bare


hands. Exaggerating Beowulfs bravery makes the story more exciting.


Another exaggeration used to convince us how great our hero is, is the


passage, Over all the world, or between the seas, / Or under the


heaven, no hero was greater. (671-67). This dazzles the listener with


Beowulfs bravery. His bravery is again exaggerated when he jumps in the


swamp wearing heavy armor to fight and kill Grendels mother. Its


unlikely even a strong warrior could win a battle with a she-monster in


an underwater cave with a broken sword. But it adds to the excitement.


In the line The head of Grendel, with heavy toil; / Four of the


stoutest, with all their strength, / Could hardly carry on swaying spear


/ Grendels head to the gold-decked hall. (110-111) exaggerations are


made concerning the size and weight of the monsters head. Again, it


portrays a more gruesome and dramatic scene to the listeners


imagination.


Alliteration, which is repeating the same sound, usually a


consonant, at the beginning of words or in accented syllables, gives


this story a more poetic sound. Alliteration also helped the scops or


storytellers in memorizing the tales. Examples of alliteration can be


found throughout the poem such as, The Hall of the Heart, His pledge


and promise, Dragging the dead men home to his den, Fitted and


furnished, and Showed sea-cliffs shining. This device adds creativity


and rhythm to the poem. It makes it more entertaining to read, speak, or


listen to such a long story.


Metaphors in the kennings, exaggerations, and alliteration all


help in developing vivid descriptions and imagery to entertain and


beautifully tell the story of Beowulf. Imagery, figures of speech that


help the mind to form pictures, are throughout the poem. One of the


strongest examples was found where it reads, The demon delayed not,


but quickly clutched / A sleeping thane in his swift assault, / Tore him


in pieces, bit through the bones, / Gulped the blood, and gobbled the


flesh, / Greedily gorged on the lifeless corpse, (558-56). This is the


image of Grendel killing one of the soldiers before his fatal fight with


Beowulf. Great descriptive passages are found about Grendels swamp-home


describing it as, ^a dismal covert / Of trees that hung over hoary


stone, / Over churning water and bloodstained wave. (6-8), ^The


water boiled in a bloody swirling () ^The swimming forms of


sea-dragons, / Dim serpent shapes in the watery depths. These are the


pictures that nightmares are made of.


In comparison to our modern fiction, Beowulf might seem wordy


and lengthy but when a reader takes time to savor the graphic


descriptions, vivid imagery, clever alliteration, and fantastic


exaggerations one can understand how this thirteen hundred-year-old epic


poem has lasted through the years. It is beautifully and creatively


written and has therefore stood the test of time for the reader or the


listener.





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