UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Character from archetype: A study of the characterization of Beowulf with reference to the diction of direct speech in Beowulf

Lee, Dong-Ill; (1996) Character from archetype: A study of the characterization of Beowulf with reference to the diction of direct speech in Beowulf. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

[img] Text
Character_from_archetype_A_st.pdf

Download (8MB)

Abstract

This dissertation attempts to measure the development of Beowulf's character in Beowulf. Direct speech works as a primary source for this enquiry since it takes us closer to the speakers' inner state of mind than do any other elements in the poem. My examination of the diction of the speeches in Beowulf reveals that the eponymous hero, though he is taken from a folk-tale archetype, has an individual character which develops through the poem. Young Beowulf displays faultless courage and adheres to the heroic code. However, he is still developing and has not yet learned how to restrain some of his more inappropriate emotions. His responses to his interlocutors show that he has mental insight and the ability to master his circumstances. Although, on his arrival in Denmark, he is already an established, confident hero, he is still a youth and his adventures in this country contribute to his continued mental growth. Old Beowulf's reflections later reveal a reappraisal of his life in which he achieves a spiritual awakening and goes beyond the Germanic ethics that have hitherto governed his life to a new awareness of spiritual values. In this development through the poem, Beowulf reveals the individualized traits whereby the poet has built him up from an archetype into a character. This study focuses on three kinds of evidence: firstly, semantic evidence, which is gathered from Beowulf and other Old English poems; secondly, the sub-text of direct speech, in which the underlying intentions of the poem's protagonists can be found; thirdly, contextual considerations, which also help to reveal the true meaning of the words and actions of people in Beowulf.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Character from archetype: A study of the characterization of Beowulf with reference to the diction of direct speech in Beowulf
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10101403
Downloads since deposit
176Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item