Good vs. Evil as found in “Beowulf”
In the epic “Beowulf,” there is a constant struggle between good and evil. This poem is an early example of the phrase, “Bad guys never win.” Examples of this theme include: God versus Cain, Beowulf versus Grendal, and Beowulf versus Grendal’s mother.
The first battle between God (good) and Cain (evil) is actually an allusion from the bible. This story of Cain is used to compare God’s feelings of Grendal, a descendant of Cain. The book states, “…Since Cain had killed his only / Brother, slain his father’s son / With an angry sword. God drove him off, / outlawed him…” (Beowulf, 1261 – 1264). Cain killed his brother because he was evil and God shunned and marked him for his evilness. God has the same feelings for Grendal.
Grendal is described as a vicious monster that is an offspring of everything evil. Grendal is so evil; God refuses to forgive Grendal and favors Beowulf’s pride over Grendal’s sins. In the battle between Beowulf and Grendal, God grants Beowulf overwhelming victory. The book states, “the Ruler of the heavens brought about a right issue, when once more he stood up with ease.” God can stand with ease because the beast he hates, Grendal, is dead.
Beowulf is a mighty, honorable hero who has super strength and the ego to match his strength. Beowulf defeats Grendal with his bare hands and then he forced to fight Grendal’s vengeful mother. Tired and torn, Beowulf, through his goodness, is able to vanquish Grendal’s mother. At the break of exhaustion, Beowulf grabs a monstrous sword and the book continues, “he struck furiously…the blade went straight through the doomed body.”
The epic poem Beowulf encompasses all aspects of a great tale. Beowulf, God, and Wiglaf represent good in the poem whereas; Grendal, his mother, and Cain portray the contrasting side of evil. Throughout the epic poem “Beowulf” there are many examples of good versus evil.
In Beowulf, we see a clash between Christianity and Paganism often. Considering it was written to show how Christian beliefs are superior to Pagan beliefs, it would be strange if […]
The story of Beowulf shows the effect of the spread of Christianity in the early Danish paganistic society that values heroic deeds and bravery above all else. The mythical creatures […]
When one considers the criticism of Beowulf, from the beginnings to more recent writings the early lack of interest in Grendel’s mother is very apparent. In 1936 J. R. R. […]
In the Old English poem Beowulf, the warrior culture is centered upon the heroic codes. Those who are members of Hrothgar’s court are ranked based upon the identities and reputations […]
Loyalty, Vengeance and Beowulf Loyalty and vengeance at times go hand in hand in many chivalrous stories like Beowulf. To understand the connect you must know the meaning of both […]
Beowulf, the Old-English epic poem, is characteristic of its Nordic-Germanic roots as a tale of a great Scandinavian warrior – Beowulf – who saves a neighboring kingdom from the wrath […]
Charles Manson is very similar to Grendel. Manson was born from Cain’s murderous way. They both are full of hatred in their heart, and they don’t give any mercy to […]
Culture and language have always been, by their very nature, intertwined. Neither can exist without the other. As the world shifts perspectives and culture evolves, so must language evolve with […]
The phrase “he was a good king” appears three times in Beowulf. The first iteration (line 11) is a homage to Shield Sheafson. By describing Sheafson in honorific terms, the […]
In the epic “Beowulf,” there is a constant struggle between good and evil. This poem is an early example of the phrase, “Bad guys never win.” Examples of this theme […]