It is important to distinguish these kennings from compound adjectives that are also often used in Beowulf (“wide-ranging” line 839 and “well-known” line 866). The five examples of kennings listed above demonstrate the various roles that kennings can play in a literary work. The most obvious effect of using a kenning is the heightened style and fantastic feeling of the text which is characteristic of the epic genre. A simple weapon becomes a “war-sword” and the king’s treasury becomes his “ring-hoard.” Each kenning also affects its immediate surroundings.
Take the kenning “hall-thanes” for example: by referring to the king’s thanes as “hall-thanes,” the author emphasizes the importance of Herot hall, showing that the men’s allegiance to the great hall is just as important as their allegiance to the king. Kennings can also serve to break up the monotony and repetition of text when referring to the same thing over and over again. When referring to the soldiers quartered in the hall, the author may call them “soldiers” and “hall-troops” to provide variety while still maintaining clarity.
In addition, kennings can hint at the work’s mood or theme. The general theme of the kennings in this section are militaristic and noble, a fact which relects the glorification of battle shown in the section.
He was also not facing a single foe. Instead of just fighting Grendel’s Mother, Beowulf also had to fight “a bewildering horde…
from the depths, droves of sea-beasts/who attacked with tusks and tore at his chain-mail” (1509-11). Perhaps because Beowulf brings a weapon, Grendel’s Mother is also symbolically free to use them, and she almost kills him with a whetted knife, after his own great sword failed him. Finally, Grendel’s Mother dies with one strike to the neck, instead of surviving only to die later as Grendel did. She also fights for revenge, to “avenge her only child” (1546-7), as much as Beowulf does, something that Grendel never claimed as a driving force.
To have been defeated easily, is astounding, since the warriors were suppose to protect this “hall of halls” (43). Herot was the mead-hall where people could show their wealth and mingle with other people, without it, it took away the mediator between the King and the comman land people. However, going back to my previous statement, Herot still stands even throughout all the misfortunes and feasts it has had. Not only does the Herot mean a lot to the Danes, but, ironically, the mead-hall is a place where warriors return after fighting. However, in the story, the warriors are cautious of Grendel attacking the mead-hall.
After Grendel is killed, Beowulf, as I mentioned before, receives all these gifts for defeating Grendel, even the King speaks as if he is about to die by adopting Beowulf and sounding like he is on his death bed. Mostly seeming like the King was handing down the kingdom to Beowulf, as a fresh start now that Grendel was killed. Of course, later Grendel’s mother attacks Herot for revenge, which, in the same sense represents the same process with Grendel’s death and Beowulf’s luxuries. Overall, Herot represents the community as a whole, patching itself throught the rough times and the fun times, while still remaining with their traditions of what a mead-hall is to warriors, comman people, and the King.
At the first reading of the poem, the women tend to be overlooked, but if you look closer the second time around, you realize that the women play roles that are key to the story and to that of the society in which they live. The women are peacemakers, entertainers, and also are constantly contradicting the expectations for women within the society. The peacemaker allows the women to unite different groups of people and to also keep good relations with them at the same time. The character most fitting to this title is Hildeburh. She maintains loyalty with her homeland and also the land of her husband’s. The entertainer, or hostess as some people like to call it, allows the women to reaffirm social customs and publicly establish the status of men. The woman closest to this characteristic is Wealhtheow. She reiterates this characteristic by her use of the cup of mead in which she switches the order of whom gets it first depending on the circumstances of the men she is in front of.
The characteristic of the monster within the female characters in the poem is a masculine characteristic and it completely disagrees with the social expectations of women in the society of that time. The number one character for this is Grendel’s mother. She uses force and violence to solve any conflict in her way.
In the end, the women of the poem are expected to maintain duties that are in the best interest of the men of the land. The roles that female characters within the poem play are very underestimated because many of the women have more power than most would think for the time period that the poem takes place. The female roles within the poem are very central to the poem itself and without them, this poem would not be as complex as it is.
(p. 106) The troops had mourned the death of Beowulf. Many people had constructed the largest funeral pyre of the day. (p.108) According to the text, Beowulf had been the best king the people had ever had. (p. 108)
g., names for God, any allusions to characters/stories from the Bible. Is this in any sense a “Christian” poem?
..Cain’s clan, whome the Creator had outlawed/and condemned as outcasts. For the killing of Abel/the Eternal Lord had exacted a price:/Cain got no good from committing that murder,” (106-109). Along with the reference to the killing of Abel by his brother Cain, there are multiple instances throughout the epic where the mentioning of God takes place, whether it be directly or by using a name that alludes to Him. For example, in lines 1724-1727 it reads, “It is a great wonder/how Almighty God in His magnificence favors our race with rank and scope/and the gift of wisdom; His sway is wide,” (1724-1727) Throughout Beowulf, there are, as well, various instances where, as Beowulf fights his opponets, or in reference to the outcome of the battle, the narrator mentions that everything that takes place occurs because it was part of the Lord’s ultimate plan. As stated by the narrator after the death of Beowulf, “What God judged right would rule what happened/to every man, as it does to this day,” (2858-2859)While there are multiple instances of religious reference throughoout the epic, Beowulf, I do not belive that this is a “Christian” poem. From reading the epic, it can be concluded that Christianity was the dominant religion of the author’s time.
The author was, therefore, writing in referel to the times in which he lived, incoorporating aspects of his culture into the text.
We see this in Beowulf with the killing of Grendel and his mother. To receive gold gave you honor and respect among the people. Another form of gold receiving was to the family in the event a kinsman falls in defense or in battle of their king. This occurs after the attack by Grendel where the king pays the family for their loss.