One puzzle concerns how the original poem, written in Old English, would have been received by its contemporary audience around 1000 CE (Common Era). Benjamin Bagby is a world-renowned interpreter of Beowulf. I have heard him in live performance and he is mesmerizing. He has memorized the poem in Old English and sings it!
See his amazing performance of when Beowulf encounters Grendel on this page.
You can see clips of him performing on YouTube or buy his DVD.
To rent his performance, click here.
Bagby’s article about performing can be accessed here.