This originally started out as a reply to one of the people (probably a bored high school student) who left a one star review. Holy crap are ya'all making me mad.
For everyone who thinks this poem is boring, or clinched, or just about a superawesome strongguy who does superawesome things that are boring and clichéd, did you read the end? The part about how he died, and his warriors deserted him (except for one young warrior), and because they deserted him the other thanes were going to wipe out Beowulf's people and sell the women into slavery? All because the entire political system that Beowulf's society is built on relies on weregilt-- literally blood-money or blood-debt. If someone is killed by another person, that person owes the family of the person he killed either treasure or his life. He must either take out a loan from a richer person to cover the debt in which case he owes that person and will probably have to fight for him, die, or go to war to escape being killed. This creates a cycle of debt and bloodshed that cannot be stopped on its own.
While Beowulf and his knights were strong the other thanes kept away, but the moment he died and his warriors proved to be cowards they were going to get attacked. The entire epic is littered with examples of that happening, in particular every passage about a queen shows the consequences of this cycle of debt and bloodshed. One of the side stories is about a queen who was married off to erase the blood-debt between her father's tribe and her husband's. Unfortunately the older warriors of her husband goaded a younger warrior into attacking the guards she brought with her from her father, starting a new cycle of fighting that resulted in her returning to her father weeping because her brothers, husband, and sons had killed each other. Neither man's warcraft nor woman's peacecraft could stop the cycle of violence.
Basically the entire point of Beowulf is that neither man (through war) or women (through diplomacy and marriages) could bring about peace in Beowulf's society. The author of the epic was a monk, one of the few people in that era who could read and write. His solution to the dilemma that Beowulf's people live under, a state of constant warfare, is to convert to Christianity and set aside their system of blood-debt in favor of the Prince of Peace.
Beowulf is NOT about how awesome Beowulf is. Beowulf is about how no matter how important and powerful a person or society is, they will always FAIL, as Beowulf failed, unless they abandon revenge and honor-killings and convert to Christianity.*
*I am not Christian myself so that is not my personal opinion, but the author of Beowulf was likely a monk trying to convert the Danes.
Also, clichéd? Are you kidding me? No, Beowulf is not clichéd for the reasons stated above, but also because IT IS THE FIRST WORK OF ENGLISH LITERATURE. That's like saying The Epic of Gilgamesh is clichéd, or the [b: Al-Sab Al-Muallaqat the Seven Poems Suspended in the Temple at Mecca|12589687| Al-Sab Al-Muallaqat the Seven Poems Suspended in the Temple at Mecca|Frank E. Johnson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348980413s/12589687.jpg|17604456] is clichéd. Literature on this level, a level that actually shapes the cultures that spawned it, is never clichéd.