Beowulf is a unique title of a famous and old epic poem, which has more than three thousand alliterative lines. It forms part of the important works of ancient Anglo-Saxon literature.
Beowulf is a long and detailed narrative poem, which is rich in literature and other aspects, thus coming in handy in the study of language. The poem narrates on serious and great subjects who have a unique and elevated relationship. It centers on a quasi-divine or heroic figure namely Beowulf, described as an important person whose actions determine the fate of a nation, tribe, or the human race.
This poem establishes genre of stories and epic poems. In addition, it shows work from old English literature and exemplifies the unique way of traditional culture. The poem describes how Beowulf fought against water monster Grendel together with Grendel’s mother. This essay demonstrates the linguistic, thematic, and cultural importance of Beowulf from the eyes of Grendel’s mother, an antagonist in the novel.
John Gardner’s novel Grendel expounds the cultural importance of Beowulf through a character named Grendel’s mother who was a monster that lived in a cave located under water together with her son Grendel. Though she was a monster, she played important role in expounding the traditional culture in this novel.
Gardner reveals major practices practiced in this culture. First, the role played by women in this culture was rather minimal, as the book presents them as confined to performing the tasks of playing stewards and or action-seeking warriors or men (Gardner 17). On the other hand, the author depicts women as peacemakers describing them as bestowing honors and gifts, which were important aspects in this culture.
Men in this culture played roles of warriors and breadwinners to their families. The poem also reveals how the culture believed in supernatural being and in God. For instance, Grendel’s mother says that, “The humans believe that their God can prevent occurrence of accidents and help them win battles” (Gardner 43). Based on the entire piece, Beowulf manifests some crucial cultural values like bravery, respect, and relationship.
These cultural values are of great essence as they reflect a unique culture that is rich in morals and honor. Families of Anglo-Saxon society are described as of great importance as they were the sources of identification. For instance, warriors and other people were mentioned not by their deeds, but by who their parents or brothers are. This emphasizes on the value of families in this culture.
Beowulf has a lot of linguistic importance, as described by Gardner through his use of a character named Grendel’s mother. This poem is worth of analysis and study, as it contains many language intricacies, which are important in understanding the complex nature of traditional literature.
The alliteration used in this poem makes it unique and memorable. With unique alliteration, lines used in this poem were easier o repeat and remember. For instance, alliteration stands out when Gardner reckons that, “the dearest companion of Beowulf was now dead and gone due to fierce battle with the monster” (46).The poem also employs other linguistic features such as satire.
One can clearly see the thematic importance of Beowulf as an epic poem after an extensive study of it. The poem uses many themes as the story unfolds. These themes help to unfold a unique story of evil versus good. The poem describes Min characters’ weapons and clothes using detailed descriptions, which help the learner to form a clear picture of how the attire looked like. John Gardener through use of Grendel’s mother portrays Grendel as a unique creature with strong feelings rather the being a savage beast.
The poem has paramount themes, which include themes such as the heroic deeds that reflect on individual glory. In addition, there was personification of deadly raw emotions such as greed, envy, and pride through the characters especially Grendel’s mother. It also uses symbols. For instance, the necklace given to Beowulf by Wealhtheow is a unique symbol of the loyalty bond existing between the Wealhtheow’s people and Beowulf. Diverse themes used in this book expound on the thematic essence of this novel.
Gardner, John. Grendel. New York: Vintage Books, 1971.