If the critics had taken the time to climb the tower before knocking it over, they would have been able to see how the structure and history of the poem shaped Beowulf.
The critics would have realized how the poem fit together and found that it is in fact a viable and wonderful story. It follows a sequential order in that Beowulf kills Grendel and his mother, and then proceeds fifty years ahead to show us the battle with the dragon.
Tolkien's original essay, Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics, was amazing -- if only for its impact on the study of Beowulf.
I'm hard-pressed to think of any other essay that changed the world of literary studies so completely.
Tolkien believes that Beowulf is a heroic-elegiac poem.
While I believe that it is true that this poem is an elegy, I also believe that it is an epic. Tolkien has successfully undermined the criticism of all of those opposed to how Beowulf was written. Tolkien’s Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics “There is not much poetry in the world like this; and though Beowulf may not be among the very greatest poems of our western world and its tradition, it has its own individual character, and peculiar solemnity;…” (113).And finally, I do not agree with the classification that Tolkien puts on the poem.I do believe it to be an epic because that is how we have studied this poem to be.Tolkien believes that Beowulf does not exactly fall into a category.There are no Greek ties to it, nor from any other culture than the one it was written within. This I do agree with, this story can be thought of as a lament to the dead.Tolkien brings up many great points in this speech.He successfully discredits those who have disbelief in his views.“The general structure of the poem, so viewed, is not really difficult to perceive, if we look to the main points, the strategy, and neglect the many points of minor tactics. The balance that is given to us in this poem is that the stories about Grendel and his mother are lengthier than the battle with the dragon.The poem must be written this way to show us the importance in the character of whom Beowulf is.