- /bay"euh woolf'/, n.1. (italics) an English alliterative epic poem, probably written in the early 8th century A.D.2. the hero of this poem.
* * *Heroic poem considered the highest achievement of Old English literature and the earliest European vernacular epic.It deals with events of the early 6th century and was probably composed с 700–750. It tells the story of the Scandinavian hero Beowulf, who gains fame as a young man by vanquishing the monster Grendel and Grendel's mother; later, as an aging king, he kills a dragon but dies soon after, honoured and lamented. Beowulf belongs metrically, stylistically, and thematically to the Germanic heroic tradition but shows a distinct Christian influence.
* * *▪ Old English poemheroic poem, the highest achievement of Old English literature and the earliest European vernacular epic. Preserved in a single manuscript (Cotton Vitellius A XV) from c. 1000, it deals with events of the early 6th century and is believed to have been composed between 700 and 750. It did not appear in print until 1815. Although originally untitled, it was later named after the Scandinavian hero Beowulf, whose exploits and character provide its connecting theme. There is no evidence of a historical Beowulf, but some characters, sites, and events in the poem can be historically verified.The poem falls into two parts. It opens in Denmark, where King Hrothgar's splendid mead hall, Heorot, has been ravaged for 12 years by nightly visits from an evil monster, Grendel, who carries off Hrothgar's warriors and devours them. Unexpectedly, young Beowulf, a prince of the Geats of southern Sweden, arrives with a small band of retainers and offers to cleanse Heorot of its monster. The King is astonished at the little-known hero's daring but welcomes him, and after an evening of feasting, much courtesy, and some discourtesy, the King retires, leaving Beowulf in charge. During the night Grendel comes from the moors, tears open the heavy doors, and devours one of the sleeping Geats. He then grapples with Beowulf, whose powerful grip he cannot escape. He wrenches himself free, tearing off his arm, and leaves, mortally wounded.The next day is one of rejoicing in Heorot. But at night as the warriors sleep, Grendel's mother comes to avenge her son, killing one of Hrothgar's men. In the morning Beowulf seeks her out in her cave at the bottom of a mere and kills her. He cuts the head from Grendel's corpse and returns to Heorot. The Danes rejoice once more. Hrothgar makes a farewell speech about the character of the true hero, as Beowulf, enriched with honours and princely gifts, returns home to King Hygelac of the Geats.The second part passes rapidly over King Hygelac's subsequent death in a battle (of historical record), the death of his son, and Beowulf's succession to the kingship and his peaceful rule of 50 years. But now a fire-breathing dragon ravages his land and the doughty but aging Beowulf engages it. The fight is long and terrible and a painful contrast to the battles of his youth. Painful, too, is the desertion of his retainers except for his young kinsman Wiglaf. Beowulf kills the dragon but is mortally wounded. The poem ends with his funeral rites and a lament.Beowulf belongs metrically, stylistically, and thematically to the inherited Germanic heroic tradition. Many incidents, such as Beowulf's tearing off the monster's arm and his descent into the mere, are familiar motifs from folklore. The ethical values are manifestly the Germanic code of loyalty to chief and tribe and vengeance to enemies. Yet the poem is so infused with a Christian spirit that it lacks the grim fatality of many of the Eddic lays or the Icelandic sagas. Beowulf himself seems more altruistic than other Germanic heroes or the heroes of the Iliad. It is significant that his three battles are not against men, which would entail the retaliation of the blood feud, but against evil monsters, enemies of the whole community and of civilization itself. Many critics have seen the poem as a Christian allegory, with Beowulf the champion of goodness and light against the forces of evil and darkness. His sacrificial death is not seen as tragic but as the fitting end of a good (some would say “too good”) hero's life.That is not to say that Beowulf is an optimistic poem. The English critic J.R.R. Tolkien (Tolkien, J.R.R.) suggests that its total effect is more like a long, lyrical elegy than an epic. Even the earlier, happier section in Denmark is filled with ominous allusions that were well understood by contemporary audiences. Thus, after Grendel's death, King Hrothgar speaks sanguinely of the future, which the audience knows will end with the destruction of his line and the burning of Heorot. In the second part the movement is slow and funereal; scenes from Beowulf's youth are replayed in a minor key as a counterpoint to his last battle, and the mood becomes increasingly sombre as the wyrd (fate) that comes to all men closes in on him. John Gardner's Grendel (1971) is a retelling of the story from the point of view of the monster.
* * *
Look at other dictionaries:
Beowulf — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Para otros usos de este término, véase Beowulf (desambiguación). Beowulf y otros poemas anglosajones … Wikipedia Español
BEOWULF — Ce long poème héroïque de plus de trois mille vers repose sur une légende scandinave du haut Moyen Âge et représente l’un des sommets de la poésie vieil anglaise. Cependant, la geste tragique de Beowulf est célébrée par un poète chrétien… … Encyclopédie Universelle
Beowulf — es un poema épico heróico tradicional en inglés antiguo escrito en verso aliterativo. Con 3182 versos, contiene mucho más material que cualquier obra similar en su mismo idioma y representa alrededor del 10% del corpus existente del verso… … Enciclopedia Universal
Beowulf — Beowulf, altenglisches Stabreimepos in 3 182 Langzeilen; ältestes und einziges vollständig erhaltenes altgermanisches Heldenepos, überliefert in einer Handschrift des 10. Jahrhunderts Den Hauptinhalt bilden zwei Abenteuer des Gautenfürsten… … Universal-Lexikon
Beowulf — Значения для Beowulf: Beowulf (кластер) компьютерная технология Beowulf (игра) видеоигра Beowulf (эпос) англосаксонская сага со скандинавскими истоками … Википедия
Beowulf — angelsächsischer Held, in der Sage bekannt durch seine Siege über den bösen Grendel u. einen Drachen, welcher das Land verheerte. Ursprünglich deutsch, wurde die Sage von B. in England weiter ausgebildet u. christianisirt; das jetzige… … Pierer's Universal-Lexikon
Beowulf — Beowulf, angelsächs. Epos, das einzige altgermanische, das uns vollständig erhalten ist, schildert die Taten des Geatenhelden B., namentlich seinen Kampf mit dem Seeungeheuer Grendel und dessen Mutter und geraume Zeit nachher mit einem Drachen,… … Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon
Beowulf — Beowulf, volkstümliche angelsächs., nach ihrem mythischen Haupthelden benannte Dichtung aus dem 8. Jahrh., das älteste größere Denkmal german. Volkspoesie, hg. von Heyne (7. Aufl. 1903), Holder (3. Aufl. 1894), übersetzt von Simrock (1859), Heyne … Kleines Konversations-Lexikon
Beowulf — Beowulf, der Held einer Angelsächs. Dichtung, des B.liedes, aus dem 8. Jahrh. seiner jetzigen Gestalt nach, zuletzt herausgegeben von Kemble, London 1837, deutsch übersetzt von Ettmüller, Zürich 1840 … Herders Conversations-Lexikon
Beowulf — O.E. beo wulf, lit. bee wolf, a wolf to bees; a kenning for bear … Etymology dictionary
Beowulf — [bā′ə woolf΄] n. [< ?; prob. understood in OE as beo,BEE1 + wulf,WOLF, hence as a kenning for “bear”] hero of the Old English folk epic of that name, an Anglian poem probably composed during the first half of the 8th cent. A.D … English World dictionary