University of Costa Rica
Criticism Approaches to Beowulf
A Synthesis of Mythic Approaches to Beowulf
Beowulf; the most important of Old English epic poems, focuses on the Germanic heroic code which so far has been well marked in the mythological world. Therefore, a mythological and archetypal literary approach is applied to Beowulf since the poem hints certain elements that belong to these two methods of analysis. In fact, mythological and archetypal criticism emphasize on the history of the heroic heroes, the hero´s journey, God, myths such as religion and resurrection, individuation, universal symbols, and other allusions that are all involved in mythology as Beowulf poem interrelates. Critics who take apart texts by analyzing deeply with the mythological and archetypal approach are looking for symbols. In the literary field, Beowulf is just one of the best examples to explain these approaches. Because of many reasons, Mythic approaches are very applied to Beowulf piece of literary work. First of all, there is a definite concept for myths as Kari Meyers and Gilda Pacheco expose, Myths can be defined as symbolic projections of human hopes, fears, and values. Myths transcend time and go from generation to generation as a manifestation of a feeling of togetherness. By adopting individual ways and shapes of expression, such as legends and folk tales typical of a particular group or a given region, myths are not only communal but also collective (…)(1) So, this explanation is reflected on Beowulf poem since it is an Anglo-Saxon folk tale that has several symbolic projections being discussed from generation to generation. The image of “hero” resembles a “myth” in that it is the universal image that everybody shares with. The image of our hero in this story is depicted by a collective psyche that associates the same meaning in a depersonalized dream for Beowulf,...
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