Beowulf Explained in Context

‘Then…The fire-breathing dragon was mad to attack for a third time. When chance came, he caught the hero in a rush of flame and clamped sharp fags into his neck. Beowulf’s body ran wet with his life’s-blood…. Next thing, they say, the noble son of Weohstan saw the king in danger at his side and displayed his inborn bravery and strength…. He lunged at the enemy lower down in the belly so that his decorated sword sank into its belly and the flames grew weaker.’

An Explanation of the Epic Poem: Beowulf

”The man whose name was known for courage, the Get leader, resolute in his helmet, answered in return: “We are retainers from Hygelac’s band. Beowulf is my name…”

After 340 lines Beowulf announces his name for the first time and introduces himself officially to king Hrothgar. From this moment on the story of Beowulf and his marvellous adventures commences. The poem of Beowulf was written in the West Saxon dialect somewhere between the seventh and the end of the tenth century. This language was spoken by the inhabitants of Wessex in South England.

Around 449 B.C. German tribes: the Jutes, the Angles, the Saxons and the Frisians invaded England and settled in this country. Whilst doing so they drove the indigenous people, the Celts, westwards. England became divided in several kingdoms each with their own dialect. In the east there was Northumberland and Mercia. In the south there was Kent, Sussex and Cornwall.

In 597 Saint Augustine started his mission to convert the inhabitants of England to Christianity. Augustine, sent by the Roman Catholic Church landed on the southern shores of England. He was to meet Aethelbert, king of Kent. The spouse of Aethelbert, Berta, was a Frankish Christian princess and therefore he would have more influence to make his mission in England a success. There was only one problem for Augustine. His intentions were to build an archbishopric in London, but it so happened that London was in the realm of pagan tribes, so.

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Beowulf Explained in Context. (2018, Aug 22). Retrieved from