The poem called Beowulf (ca. 850 AD) was composed in Old English during what is known as the Middle Ages. Telling the tale of a hero who fights two monsters and a dragon, the three-thousand-line poem is traditionally viewed as one of the few bits of brightness in an otherwise dark age. Set in Scandinavia, the poem offers a tantalizing window into a culture undergoing a transition, as the Anglo-Saxon speaker embraces the newly adopted religion Christianity while nevertheless expressing nostalgia for the heroic days of yore. Jacke Wilson takes a look at the classic poem Beowulf and the questions it raises today.
Starting our journey with the surprisingly modern story of an ancient warrior-king whose restlessness drives him to seek immortality.