Essays About Beowulf: Top 5 Examples Plus Prompts 

To write excellent essays about Beowulf, you first need to understand the poem more deeply; see our examples and prompts to help you with your essay writing.

The Old English epic Beowulf is one of the most famous stories. This iconic piece of Old English literature is believed to have been composed between 700 and 750. Many people in school or university study this poem for its structure and because many of Beowulf’s lessons are still relevant today. 

This guide will look at five example essays focused on the epic poem Beowulf, its characters, plot, and other literary elements. Consider using what you’ve read as inspiration for your Beowulf essays. 

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1. Beowulf as a Representation of Mankind by Anonymous on GradesFixer

“It is no mistake that the giant sword is the only weapon that can slay the mother, nor is it a mistake that ordinary weapons cannot harm either Beowulf or Grendel’s mother, for in the greatest conflict man will ever face, the battle for the heart of another, a little out of the box thinking is required.”

This essay compares the story and characters in Beowulf with the biblical text and other symbolisms. It relates Grendel to Cain, the Heorot to the womb, and more. The author also likens Beowulf’s epic battles to man’s struggles in life.

2. The Women in Beowulf by Anonymous on PapersOwl

“…In the epic poem Beowulf, the women presented are central to not only the story but also to society itself. They present voices that offer influence over the predominately male group and often are the voice of reason with their husbands. These women should not be taken lightly. 

The writer focuses on the female characters presented in the epic poem Beowulf. They discuss the different characteristics and symbolisms of these women and emphasize the essential roles of each female character. The essay also presents characters that didn’t meet the stereotype of women in the Anglo-Saxon period.

3. Essay on Beowulf for Students and Children by Prasanna

“He fears nothing, not even death, and possesses a unique physical strength; also, he is always prepared to sacrifice for his people’s welfare despite his old age as an ideal king.”

Prasanna wrote two essays: a long and a short one about Beowulf. In the extended essay, she talks about the epic’s impact on Anglo-Saxon literature. She also discusses the characters, themes, and lessons one can glean from analyzing the poem.

4. What Is the Role of Treasure in Beowulf?  by Anonymous on SparkNotes

“In Beowulf, however, the Danes, Geats, and Swedes’ collective reverence for treasure is not represented as a shortcoming or moral weakness. In fact, the poem often uses treasure as a symbol of the Scandinavian people’s most cherished cultural values.”

Many stories have used treasure as a tool to show the true character of their heroes and villains. This essay delves into how treasure symbolizes prosperity and stability in Beowulf instead of greed and corruption. It also mentions how other characters’ value is on par with the treasure.

5. Beowulf Conclusion Essay by Anonymous on StudyDriver

“Beowulf is victorious in all of his battles; however, in doing this he lives in isolation; never marries and has no close friends.”

This essay summarizes the poem before critiquing its hero and his values. It also compares Beowulf with his enemies and considers the differences between the animated film and its source material.

For help with your essays, check out our round-up of the best essay checkers.

12 Creative Prompts On Essays About Beowulf

Essays About Beowulf
J. R. Skelton, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a look at our writing prompt to help you get started on your essay. If you don’t know which topic to focus on, consider the different essay prompts listed below.

1. What I Learned From Beowulf

Beowulf is more than a poem about a legendary warrior and their pursuits. Despite being one of the oldest stories in English literature, it holds many relevant lessons for modern audiences. Share what you learn from the epic poem. Did it affect your life?

2. Beowulf and Its Impact on Modern Life

Although Beowulf doesn’t have the same impact on the modern lifestyle as newer pieces of literature, it has applicable lessons, relatable characters, and challenging topics that many contemporary works don’t tackle anymore. In your essay, discuss how Beowulf can be used in modern times and how it can inspire people to lead a different way of life.

3. Monsters in Beowulf

The epic poem Beowulf is rich with monsters like Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and a dragon. These monsters have different functions and symbolism. Write your essay discussing these monsters and what they stand for. You can also include what you think they represent in the poem; are they symbolizing something in real life? Delve into this question for a compelling essay.

4. Beowulf: Good Vs. Evil

Like most epics, the poem Beowulf portrays many battles where good wins against evil. In your essay, you can present the apparent good and evil in the poem, then share your thoughts on why they are labeled so.

5. Reflection Essay on Beowulf

How did Beowulf inspire or impact you while reading and analyzing the poem? Discuss your thoughts, feelings, and opinions about the literature with a reflective essay. Discuss your reaction to the characters’ actions, understanding their motives, and other similar topics.

6. Beowulf’s Best and Worst Character Traits

The epic poem focuses on the hero Beowulf for many reasons. The king of the Danes has many great and inspiring traits. His actions and words also reflected some lacking or undesirable characteristics that made him a flawed character. Share your thoughts about these negative traits in your essay.

7. Loyalty in Beowulf

Ancient kings found power with the help of loyal subjects and warriors. In Beowulf, the Danish king had his group of dedicated warriors fighting alongside him in battle. Your essay about loyalty portrayed in Beowulf can focus on this and other portrayals of loyalty.

8. What Makes Beowulf Stand Out Among Other Old Literature?

Beowulf is still discussed in schools and universities today because it has qualities that other works of literature don’t. It’s well-preserved, rich in ancient culture, depicts old practices, and more. Consider using this essay prompt to analyze the story’s uniqueness and why it remains a must-read piece today.

9. Elements in Beowulf

If technicalities are your specialty, consider this essay prompt. Here, you can write about the formal elements in the poem. Focus on technical aspects, like style and tone.

10. Qualities of a Hero: Beowulf Vs. King Arthur

You can discuss Beowulf in comparison with another Old English classic. The stories of Beowulf and King Arthur have many similarities. But they also differ in the monsters they fight, the values they hold, and others. Use this prompt if you’ve already analyzed the story of King Arthur and Beowulf.

11. Modern Heroes and Beowulf

Today, superheroes, edgy yet quirky romantics, and secret agents make up the main characters in an array of literary genres. If you love keeping up to date on the latest literary heroes, you’ll also love this essay prompt. With it, you can compare Beowulf with contemporary protagonists like Katniss Everdeen or Harry Potter.

12. The Trials of Beowulf and How They Strengthened Him

Everyone reacts to trials and hardships differently. Some come out stronger, while others develop negativity after surviving life challenges. If you are interested in people and how they react to difficult situations, you might enjoy writing this prompt. It also helps to compare Beowulf’s reactions to tests with some firsthand experiences you’ve witnessed.

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