Searching for an essay?

Browse the database of more than 4500 essays donated by our community members!

Metaphors in Beowulf

Metaphors are often used in Beowulf to help the reader understand complex ideas.

“Thoughts were as quick as his greed or his claws” – Line 35
“Distance was safety…” – Line 57
“…death was my errand…” – Line 158

Twelve winters of grief for Hrothgar, king
Of the Danes, sorrow heaped at his door
By hell-forged hands.
Grendel’s hands are compared to a thing forged in hell
That shepherd of evil, guardian of crime, [Grendel]
Knew at once that nowhere on earth
Had he met a man whose hands were harder…
Grendel is compared to a shepherd
and to a guardian
The brilliant light shone, suddenly,
As though burning in that hall, and as bright as Heaven’s
Own candle, lit in the sky.
The sun is compared to a candle
Famous son [Beowulf] stared at death,
Unwilling to leave this world, to exchange it
For a dwelling in some distant placeā€”a journey
Into darkness that all men must make…
Dying is compared to a journey into
darkness; Death is compared to a dwelling
The old man’s mouth was silent, spoke
No more, had said as much as it could;
He would sleep in the fire, soon.
Beowulf’s funeral pyre is compared to sleep in fire