Sensory Details in Beowulf Essay

1142 Words 5 Pages
Throughout literature there are constant themes that require the reader to recognize certain events as more than what they literally are presented as. Thomas C. Foster explains the symbolism of a meal in his novel How to Read Literature Like a Professor by stating, “Sometimes a meal is just a meal…More often than not, though, it’s not”. His belief is exemplified in the epic poem Beowulf [B], translated by Seamus Heaney, through symbolism the poem expresses a sense of camaraderie and community that comes with sharing a meal. The epic poem Beowulf is laden with sensory details about each feast. The significance of the feast is accentuated by the occasion of the feast. According to Thomas C. Foster, “whenever people eat or drink together, …show more content…
These people share a common foe and now they celebrate their triumph together. In Beowulf violence is recurring and the majority of the story is devoted to depicting the violence in Beowulf’s battles. The feasts are the only major break from the poem’s violent nature, which emphasizes their importance since mead-hall was a safe haven for these warriors that returned from perilous battles. The rebuilding of the damaged mead-hall, which, in conjunction with the first feast itself, symbolizes the rebirth of the community. The hall was also a place of community, where the traditions of the Danes were preserved, and loyalty to the king was rewarded. The speeches and giving of gifts, essential components of this society’s interactions, contribute as well to the sense of wholeness renewed. Moreover the reconstruction of the partially damaged Hall contrasts with the destruction and violence of the battle with Grendel. This juxtaposition further emphasizes the Hall’s role as a unifying factor among the Danes and the Geats. The external world continuously offers the threat of attack by neighboring people, like Grendel, and the hall is their haven to share. The second and third feasts serve as symbols of respect and veneration for Beowulf, the poem’s hero. During the second feast after Beowulf had defeated Grendel Hroth-gar presents Beowulf with several gifts. Those gifts include, “a gold standard as a victory gift, and embroidered banner;

Related Documents

100 Rifles | Big Hero 6: The Series (22) | Fury of the Fist and the Golden Fleece