The Humanity In Monsters
Monsters have been a part of humanity since the beginning of time. Whether they be humans and hiding in plain sight or the grotesque beasts that have been painted in our heads for centuries. Nonetheless, each of them plays a major role in everyday life, being seen as the villains that mess up situations for the good guys. The common misconception found, however, is whether monsters are simply just naturally evil, or have they constructed that way because of certain situations. The causes and reactions of traumatizing events can lead any person to become a monstrous figure in any work of literature.
The long poem of Beowulf and Lanval both convey two different sides of monstrosity and the effects that caused it. Beginning with Lanval, the main antagonist of the story is none other than Queen Guinevere herself. She is viewed as very monstrous because of many reasons, the main ones being that she is used to getting what she wants and conveying an arrogant, better than the rest attitude. The idea of being spoiled and getting her way is very evident in lines “The queen was leaning on a window ledge; she had three ladies along with her”(Lanval lines 236-238). This clearly shows that because she constantly has three ladies with her at her beck and calls willing to do anything she needs them to do. In this case, they were used as a distraction for the rest of the knights “she called one of her ladies; she had her send for her maidens”(lines 242-243). Showing just how much power she had over the ladies, and how far they would go to grant the queen her desires. This time, however, she was stopped dead in her tracks by none other than Lanval, who refused her.
Because of the rejection, the Queen continues to tell her husband that it was, in fact, Lanval who came on to her “she says, she will never get up if the king would not do the right thing about the complaint she would make to him”( lines 310-311). Clearly showing the reader further clues to determine the way she is treated by those around her especially by the king who listens to her every demand. The text clearly lets the reader know that the Queen has a lot of power over the king and can make him believe any of her little tantrums as she pleases. She shows her monstrous side by trying to find attention and affection in anything she can. In this case, Lanval was her shiny new target that she needed to conquer, Lanval, however, remained loyal to the chivalric code and did not go through with any of the Queens attempts to seduce him. While Queen Genevive could have been created into a monster because the King being such high powers must neglect her leading her to find comfort in getting attention from other men. Her monstrous side comes out in the form of revenge, a need to get anything she desires. These actions lie, and wicked intents are enough to consider the Queen to be quite monstrous in nature. In Beowulf, there are many monsters shown that need to be conquered, the two main ones being Grendel’s mother, and the dragon. To begin with, Grendel’s mother is viewed as a wicked being for avenging the death of her son. In the lines “she set upon her hall-guest and drew her knife, broad, bright-edged; she would avenge her boy”(Beowulf lines 1545-1546) it is clear that her main goal was not to be a villain but to get back at the men for killing her son. As a mother, any woman will go to extreme lengths to get some sort of justice for her child. As any mother would after Grendel’s death, Grendel’s mother begins her terror by killing And can be seen as a “transition between two great crises” (Nitzshe pg. 2). Beowulf must go on to continue slaying beasts for his people while Grendels mothers job was to. Just as well as the dragon in Beowulf, it is viewed as another villain or monster of the epic poem.
The dragon is another example of a monster that Beowulf mission was to slay, the dragons only fault was to do its job that he had been doing for years “Three hundred winters that threat to the people held in the ground his great treasury,”(lines 2278-2279). The dragon was only at fault for being monstrous because it was his duty to do so. Even though will forever be seen as the villain who took down the hero, the monstrous thing the dragon did was protect his land.
Monsters are formed in all shapes and sizes and have various ways of showing their wickedness to the world. Whether they obtain a cause for their wrongdoings or simply born of pure wretchedness. There are always going to be a good guy and a bad guy, despite any of the details for why each is in their own category. The truth is that a villain or monster is going to be inevitable because in some way, shape, or form they are lurking in the darkness or even in plain sight.
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