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Beowulf’s Grendel’s Mother: Germanic and Christian Traditions

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Title:Beowulf’s Grendel’s Mother: Germanic and Christian Traditions
Authors:Teruya, Kevin
Contributors:English (department)
Date Issued:15 Jan 2014
Publisher:University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract:Originally, the epic Beowulf existed as an oral tale of Anglo-Saxon descent, and as such was influenced by various traditions and motifs from within the Germanic culture. Later, the transformation of Beowulf from an oral tale into a written epic was probably accomplished by a Christian cleric, since he would be among the only literate individuals of the time. In this process, the epic Beowulfwas exposed to and influenced by Christian traditions and motifs. This thesis will explore the poet's creation of the complex figure of Grendel's mother through his use of both Germanic and Christian materials from the process outlined above. I will begin my thesis with an examination of various aspects of Germanic tradition. The figures of the Devil's grandmother and the Bear spirit will be covered briefly, focus centering upon their relevant themes of the mother-son relationship and the aspects of spiritual transformation into a physical form, respectively. An examination of the draugr, ketta, and giant will follow. In each of these instances, the treatment will begin with a short introduction. A literary analogue concerning each of these three traditions will follow the draugr, ketta, and giant introductory sections. I would like to point out that the presence of these analogues in this work does not signify their use by the Beowulf author; rather, because of the loss of much Germanic material, these analogues will support the traditions outlined in the introductory segments. Following these analogue sections will be analytical critiques that will point out the similarities in characterization, the use of similar themes, and other appropriate commentary.
Pages/Duration:88 pages
Rights:All UHM Honors Projects are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Honors Projects for English

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