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Beowulf

by Unknown
121 pages, Poetry
Reviewed by Jenny

An epic tale with Christian doctrines, but violent content.

Plot

Hrothgar’s hall is wracked nightly by attacks from the demon-spawn Grendel, a hideous monster from a nearby bog whom no one can withstand or destroy. That is, until the hero Beowulf arrives with his pack of Geat warriors. At the Danish king’s request, Beowulf confronts the monster and its mother, grappling with supernatural powers to free the land.

This is only the beginning of Beowulf’s adventures. His great life contained more than a monster, but wars, crowns, dragons, and betrayal. Stalwart to the last and one of the greatest heroes of history, he faced them all in this epic tale.

Note: The author of Beowulf is unknown and there are many translations.

Morality

The morality in this is very good. The kings and warriors are upright, devout followers of God. The wicked are punished, good triumphs, and the Almighty is praised. A man’s loyalty is pointed out as exceedingly admirable, a man’s fidelity likewise. A group of men forsake their oaths and betray their king to death, and are severely punished for it.

Spiritual Content

Again, this story has come down to us with a Christian light. Grendel is said to be one of the spawns of Cain after the antediluvian was cast out from his family. There are frequent mentions of and instances of worship to God Almighty. There is a powerfully moving conviction of the supremacy of God and of his goodness. This is an excellent way to break away from the God-is-only-love mentality and see not only His provision, but also His power.

Violence

There is a lot of violence in Beowulf. Some of it is graphic, such as Beowulf’s tearing Grendel’s arm off in their struggles, or a man in battle being cleaved through the head with a weapon. Many of the characters are warriors and their job is war, and depending on the translator the amount of graphic description may vary. It should be remembered that violence was more common in the time that Beowulf was written, and was not intended for the shock-and-awe that is used for nowadays. However, this will probably make the book unsuitable for young children.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Alcoholic beverages such as ale and mead are consumed.

Sexual Content

A point is made of a king’s fidelity to his wife and how honourable he is. Otherwise, there is no unseemly sexual content.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

Grendel and his mother are both hideously unholy creatures.

Conclusion

While a bit brutal and archaic, the lessons and characters of this story are timeless. One of the greatest epic tales of history, this story is full of vivid scenes, flesh-and-blood characters, and doctrines of eternity one can never forget.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: adult

Review Rating:

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