Many critics and teachers believe that Beowulf contains themes that are relevant to modern life.

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sensei918's profile pic

sensei918 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

Since this is a statement, not a question, I am not sure what information you need, but I'll attempt to answer based on what I see in the text. Beowulf does contain universal themes that are still relevant today. One of the key things Beowulf examines is the idea of fellowship and loyalty to one's friends. It also deals with honor and keeping promises in that Beowulf has come to a strange land with the express purpose of helping a group of people that are not even from his own country. It looks at the importance of kinship and the effect that has on one's actions.

Another relevant themes that Beowulf explores is the idea of greed and its consequences, partcularly through the story of the dragon and the treasure. I'm sure you can find other themes that are also relevant, but these are some of the main ones.

jameadows's profile pic

jameadows | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

The story of Beowulf is the eternal story of good versus evil, a theme that is still relevant to modern life. Grendel is the descendant of Cain, the evil son of Adam and Eve who slew his brother, Abel. Grendel detests hearing the merrymaking in the mead hall, Heorot, that Hrothgar, the Danish king, has built, and he vows vengeance upon Hrothgar's men. As the king of darkness, Grendel rules the nighttime and slaughters his victims in darkness. On the other hand, Beowulf is the quintessence of good. He comes across the sea to help the Danes because Hrothgar helped his father, and he valiantly attacks Grendel. Beowulf is brave and willing to risk his life to pay a debt that his family owes Hrothgar. He eventually rids the Danes of Grendel and his equally awful mother.

The theme of the great hero continues to be relevant today, though we might think of heroes in different terms. The Danes despair after Grendel kills their people night after night, and they live in utter terror. After Beowulf shows up and speaks of his prowess in battle, Hrothgar sees the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. He knows that help has finally arrived, and laughter rings out in the mead hall as Hrothgar and his wife, Wealhtheow, know that the torture that Grendel has inflicted on their people is almost over. Today, we also look for the help of heroes to steer us through dark times, though what torments us is different from monsters. Therefore, the theme of the great hero defeating evil is still relevant today.


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