Beowulf

In reading the epic poem Beowulf, I noticed that one of the most significant aspects of the poem is its use of language and alliteration. It was not only used to make the poem ‘eloquent’ but more importantly, it was used to make Beowulf memorable. In other words, through the use of alliteration, the poem was easier to remember and repeat.   The language used is predominately that of the West Saxon dialect of Old English. This poem displays a wide array of linguistic forms and preserves the lineage of the past. The way that this poem communicates ideas and themes through expressive language is the reason why it is so world renowned today.  
The epic poem Beowulf takes place in 6th century Denmark and Sweden. Only a single manuscript of Beowulf survived the Anglo-Saxon era. For many centuries, the manuscript was pretty much forgotten; in the 1700s, it was nearly destroyed in a fire. It was not until the nineteenth century that widespread interest in the document emerged among scholars and translators of Old English.
Old English poetry is heavily Germanic, it is also very formal, but its form is unlike anything in modern English. Each line of Old English poetry is divided into two halves, separated (by a caesura, or pause), which is represented by a gap.   The Germanic influence in this poem helps the character of Beowulf seamlessly fit into the context of his family tree, and society. The true author of Beowulf is a mystery, yet it is assumed that it was written between 580AD and 1000AD. Beowulf has been considered the “most distinguished descendent of a long and skillful oral tradition” (Niles).   This statement can most likely arise from unruffled claims that this epic: served as a detail-oriented story for priceless entertainment during this era, played a role in education and helped language become what it is today, and even helped construct a nation.
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