Beowulf Essay—English 12/12 Honors

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Beowulf Essay—English 12/12 Honors

1. Beowulf is considered the ideal Anglo-Saxon era warrior and king. In what specific ways does he exhibit the warrior values of that era? These are courage, loyalty, generosity, boastfulness, courtesy, the desire for fame, and an acceptance of one’s fate (you do not have to tackle all of the above values in your essay).

2. Beowulf is a study in contradictions. Sections of the poem contain references to various pagan beliefs and rituals while other sections of the poem refer to Christian beliefs and practices. Examine how these very different belief systems impact the poem. What are the similarities and differences between these two belief systems? Which is the stronger presence in the poem and what does that say about Anglo-Saxon society?
3. The poem contains many supernatural elements as well as superhuman feats of strength. Highlight some of these examples and analyze why the poet included so many references to things that probably could not happen in the “real world.”
4. Compare Beowulf to a modern-day superhero (or superheroes). How does each hero represent and reflect the values of their respective societies?
5. Analyze the various villains in Beowulf. How do they compare to Beowulf? What villainous attributes do they possess? What does their existence tell us about what is condemned and evil in Anglo-Saxon society? Does Beowulf himself contain any taint of evil or is he an unrealistically perfect character? Explain those character defects of the lack thereof in Beowulf.
6. Your Own Interpretation


1. Due Thursday, September 14

2. Typed, Double-Spaced, 12 point font

3. 500 Word Minimum (12); 600 Word Minimum (12 Honors)

4. If you use outside sources, be sure to cite them using MLA style (Purdue OWL)

5. For quotes from the poem, simply put the line numbers in parentheses after the quote, e.g. (lines 500-504)

More Guidelines

6. Start with an engaging introductory paragraph that includes a clear, concise, focused thesis.

7. Your body paragraphs support your thesis.

8. Conclude gracefully.

9. Trust your instincts.

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