Questioning the Centrality of the Hero in Beowulf

Malek Jamal Zuraikat

Abstract


Questioning the Centrality of the Hero in Beowulf

Abstract

Most Beowulf critics argue that placing Beowulf "at the center of the center" is the main goal of the entire narrative (Halverson, 1969: 594) and that Beowulf uses different factors and deploys various narrative techniques to reinforce and celebrate the hero's "superhuman" heroic exceptionality. Relying on this valid viewpoint, this paper explains how the Beowulf poet promotes Beowulf's heroic status and centralizes that heroism in the epic through different narrative strategies, such as introducing characters without names and denying humans weapons any value in Beowulf's battle, and juxtaposing heroes to demons, etc. The paper discusses the poet's functional usage of such strategies and argues that while these strategies are significant to centralizing Beowulf and heroism in the epic, they indirectly undercut Beowulf's heroic culture. In short, this paper explores how juxtaposition and other narrative techniques are used by the Beowulf poet to promote Beowulf's superior heroic identity and its culture.

Keywords


Beowulf, epic genre, Old English, English poetry, heroism, centrality, narrative.

Full Text:

PDF

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.