I have recently finished reading Beowulf. Actually, I am still reading the book that the poem came with, but I have read the poem itself in its entirety. I read the Norton Critical Edition translated by Seamus Heaney, the contemporary Irish poet. There is quite a bit of commentary included in the book, which I enjoy reading, even though it is sometimes difficult to comprehend. At the present moment, I am reading a critical essay written by J.R.R. Tolkein around 1937. He is arguing for the poetic merits of Beowulf.

The poem itself was not too long, and it did not take me long to read the whole thing. I don't have any other copy to compare it to, but I think Heaney's translation was good, making the poem flow well in modern English language. I was able to comprehend the main storylines running through the poem, which is not always easy for me, especially with a translated work.

Beowulf was a hero of the Geat nation/tribe. The book/poem portrays Beowulf in three major antagonistic encounters, one with Grendel, and then with Grendel's mother, and then a third with a dragon at the end of the play. The dragon and Beowulf end up slaying each other. The poem ends with Beowulf's funeral.


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