Good vs Evil
Within the pages of “Beowulf” there is a constant struggle between good and evil. The epic poem is a classic tale of good versus evil with Grendel and Grendel’s mother being the embodiment of evil and Beowulf being good. Both sides share contrasting qualities. The themes within this epic include: God versus Cain, Beowulf versus Grendel, and Beowulf versus Grendel’s mom.
Beowulf embodies all that is good. He is honorable, courageous, and always does the right thing. Beowulf is working to save not only the monsters’ victims but all of humanity. Beowulf fights courageously and honorably. In “Beowulf” it says, “He felt no fear of the foeman’s assaults and he counted for little the might of the dragon.” This quote illustrates the picture that Beowulf is a courageous and strong man who fights evil.
Most people in Beowulf aren’t portrayed as purely good or evil. Beowulf appears to be self-sacrificing. He always rushes to help humanity or another character without concern for his own safety. “As God as my witness I would rather my body were robed in the same burning blaze as my gold-giver’s body than go back home bearing arms. That is unthinkable, unless we have first slain the foe and defended the life of the prince of the Weather-Geats. I well know the things he has done for us deserve better. Should he alone be left exposed to fall in battle? We must bond together, shield and helmet, mail-shirt and sword.” This quote can attest to the fact that Beowulf is good because no matter how tough the battle or how fierce the enemy was he always did the right thing.
Whether we like to admit it or not, when there is good, there is usually evil. Evil takes its true form in Grendel. Grendel is a descendant of Cain. Cain, a son of Adam and Eve, killed his brother Able. For his crime, Cain and all his descendants were forever banished from the company of God and of good. It’s not just Grendel’s family ties that makes him evil; Grendel’s actions are evil as well. He kills warriors as they sleep. He creeps around the moors, snatching and eating people. Grendel does not fight honorably, at least not until he is confronted by Beowulf. But Grendel’s actions are more than just evil. Grendel, rejects the core values of civilization. In the quote, “An evil idea came over me—so evil it made me shiver as I smiled—and I sidled across to the table,” Grendel shows how he is truly evil, as an evil thought came to his mind and he grinned.
In the epic poem, “Beowulf” Beowulf is painted to be the courageous hero that saves all humanity from the embodiment of evil, Grendel. Through his willingness to sacrifice himself for the greater good, and his persistency to fight Grendel honorably, this image is achieved. This epic is ultimately a classic tale of good prevailing over evil. Beowulf is the common hero you read about in tales, courageous and willing to fight for the good of his people.
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