What makes Beowulf an epic poem?

Factors that make Beowulf an epic poem are that it is a book-length poem in verse, focuses on a single hero, includes battles or conflicts, reflects many aspects of its culture, is lofty in language, and features a tragic death.

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According to poets.org, an epic poem is:

a long, often book-length, narrative in verse form that retells the heroic journey of a single person or a group of persons. Elements that typically distinguish epics include superhuman deeds, fabulous adventures, highly stylized language, and a blending of lyrical and dramatic traditions.

Beowulf qualifies as an epic poem on several of these criteria. First, it is book-length, and it is a story that is written in the verse format. It tells the tale of the main character, Beowulf’s, heroic journey to slay the monster and then much later kill the dragon. During the poem, he has several adventures and accomplishes nearly superhuman deeds, as when he kills Grendel.

Grendel is a monster that lives at the bottom of the swamp. One night, Grendel kills some of King Hrothgar’s soldiers while they are asleep. This leads the King’s people to fear Grendel, as the monster terrorizes them over a period of more than a decade. Not surprisingly, King Hrothgar...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 915 words.)

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