Study Guide

Beowulf

by Anonymous, Unknown

Beowulf Essay - Critical Essays

Sample Essay Outlines

These are topics on which you can write a substantial analytical paper. They are designed to test your understanding of major themes and details from the work as a whole. Following the topics are outlines you can use as a starting point for writing an analytical paper.

  • Topic #1
    Beowulf, in his quest for glory, is reminiscent of a specific group of modern young executives who place their careers above all other aspects of their lives. How can this be validated from the poem?

    Outline
    I. Thesis Statement: In his single-minded quest for glory, Beowulf is reminiscent of a specific group of modern young executives in that they place their careers above all other aspects of their lives as he placed the quest for glory above all other aspects of his life.

    II. Quest for glory
    A. Slaying Grendel
    B. Slaying Grendel’s mother
    C. Slaying the dragon

    III. Solitary life
    A. Lack of wife
    B. Lack of children
    C. Lack of close friends

    IV. Military life
    A. Travel at lord’s orders
    B. Live with other soldiers
    C. Place lord over self

    V. Comparison with a specific group of modern young executives
    A. Quest for great success quickly
    B. Lack of social life or family life
    C. Spend whatever little non-working time is available with co-workers
    D. Place company values above personal values

  • Topic #2
    The poem divides itself into three segments, each dealing with a different battle between Beowulf and a monster or dragon. Compare the three battles.

    Outline
    I. Thesis Statement: In his quest for glory, Beowulf fights three important battles—two with monsters and one with a dragon. These battles have both similarities and differences.

    II. Battle with Grendel
    A. Hrothgar sends for Beowulf
    B. Grendel attacks Herot, killing Hondshew
    C. Barehanded combat between Beowulf and Grendel
    D. Beowulf kills Grendel by tearing off his claw, arm, and shoulder
    E. Grendel escapes to his lair to die

    III. Battle with Grendel’s mother
    A. She attacks the sleeping Danes in Herot in revenge for the murder of her son
    B. The monster kills Esher, carrying off his body and her son’s body parts
    C. Hrothgar’s soldiers track her for Beowulf
    D. Barehanded battle until Beowulf uses the giants’ magical sword which he finds in the battlehall
    E. Beowulf kills her by slicing...

(The entire section is 1127 words.)

Ed. Scott Locklear, Michael Foster