Good And Evil In Beowulf Essay Prompts

Good vs Evil in the Epic of Beowulf Essay examples

498 Words2 Pages

In the epic poem Beowulf, there is an obvious distinction between good and evil. The hero and his foes play roles that are commonly associated with Anglo-Saxon literature. The lines are clearly drawn and expressed in the poem. As the story moves, the reader cannot mistake the roles being played, based on the characterizations in the epic, one recognizes each character for their purpose and place. The epic is named after the hero, Beowulf, who is a man “with gleaming armor.” (line 130) Because Beowulf is “the strongest of the Geats- greater than anyone in the world” he was called upon by his uncle Higlac, the king of the Geats, to save Herot from the wrath of Grendel, a terrible monster. (lines 110-111) With him he “carries...…show more content…

Eventually, at a ripe old age, Beowulf finally suffers the wrath of the dragon. He epitomizes the values of a warrior society which include bravery, loyalty, and prowess in battle. As a “bloodthirsty fiend,” Grendel was the first of the foes Beowulf battles. (line 407) He is “a powerful monster,” who “was spawned in... slime.” (lines 1, 19) He is a descendant of Cain, and chose to sacrifice the Danes to no one but himself. Grendel is “set on murder.”(49-50) Nothing can “quench his thirst for evil. (lines 52-53) Grendel stalked Herot and set his wrath loose on all who came to the hall. His mother, the “she-wolf” lived in an underwater cavern. (line 572) She is the “water witch,” one that no one’s “sword could slice her evil skin.” (lines 493, 496-497) Both characters are demons living only to hate, and cause terror in the hearts of those who know of them. The third villain comes much later than the first two. The dragon is Beowulf’s last enemy, and last battle. The beast poured out fire and smoke, and was one who “coiled and uncoiled” at the sight of a human. (line 673) The dragon menaces Beowulf’s kingdom and as an old man he is forced to fight the beast. The antagonists are evil and uncaring of human life, each choosing to end it when they please. They are bad and it shows. One night as Grendel decides to pay a visit to Herot

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Good vs. Evil in "Beowulf" Essay

931 Words4 Pages

In the epic poem Beowulf, the struggle between good and evil reveals its omnipresence in even the oldest of tales. The many allusions and symbols throughout the story relate to Christianity and other Pagan beliefs. By looking at them, it becomes apparent that the author of Beowulf believed that the constant war between good and evil is not only fought by the common man but also in the ranks of their highest esteemed rulers and warriors, and even in their dreaded nightmares where monsters lurk and wait for the death of man. Beowulf was written during the budding of Christianity in England, when it was newly forming. In the story there are obvious references to Christian rituals. The very opening page is an allusion to the Creation, also…show more content…

This Christian reference symbolizes that when Satan disrupts the lives of God’s people, the people call upon Jesus to save them and stop the madness. When Beowulf enters the kingdom of Hrothgar, the procession is similar to that of Jesus’ entrance to Jerusalem. There is a great feast where they celebrate Beowulf’s already many triumphs. Before he leaves for Denmark though, Beowulf needs a crew and he chooses “the mightiest men he could find, the bravest and best of the Geats…” (120-121) as is the same when Jesus carefully chose his disciples. When Beowulf and Grendel finally fight in Herot, the battle is similar to that of Jesus and Satan’s exchange of words in the garden of Gethsemane. Satan has tempted many men, but has never come across one so stubborn in his beliefs. Satan is unable to move Jesus and this shows Jesus’ triumph over the ultimate evil. Grendel, when he comes to Herot that fateful night is expecting an easy meal, but instead is thrown in face to face with a man of incredible strength and fighting skill. “That shepherd of evil, guardian of crime, knew at once that nowhere on earth had he met a man whose hands were harder…this was a different Herot than the hall he had emptied.”(433-439). The cave where Grendel and his mother live represents their heritage and direct association to Satan and evil. As descendants of

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