Beowulf Analytical Essay

Words: 975
Pages: 4

“There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.” – Ayn Rand. To fully understand the complex world and culture of the Anglo-Saxons, one must examine the only form of historical evidence available – texts. One particular great work from this time period is often underrated and overshadowed in modern society by many other ancient works such as Iliad or Oedipus Rex. The epic poem, Beowulf, was sung by multiple unknown Anglo-Saxon poets four centuries before the Norman Conquest. The theme of good versus evil was constantly reappearing throughout the storyline, the portrayal of evil and its downfall initially shaped the poem’s plot, and illustrates an alien presence; something that …show more content…
/ A mighty host, and famous, they lined / The benches, rejoicing; the king and Hrothulf, / His nephew, toasted to each other, raised mead-cups / High under Herot’s great roof, their speech / Courteous and warm. King and people were one; none of the Danes was plotting, / Then, no treachery hid in their smiles” (1013-1019) the two feudal tribes are united and amity is finally restored. Beowulf, the warrior himself, is seen as the representative combination of positive qualities in the warfare society, traits such as selfless bravery, boasting of accomplishments, acceptance of fate, and loyalty to one’s religion are all idealistic hero characteristics that were admired by the Anglo-Saxons, and possessed by Beowulf. Au contraire, Grendel contains all of the evils that Beowulf had lacked. Grendel is solely guided by animalistic emotions and impulses; and rejoiced at the thought of killing humans, “seeing the hall / Crowded with sleeping warriors, stuffed / With rows of young soldiers resting together, / and his heart laughed, he relished at the sight, / Intended to tear the life from those bodies” (727-731). Such destructive qualities are within Grendel, who ultimately is the peace-bringer himself after his extermination, conjoined the people of Hrothgar and Hygelac that were separated by conflict. Objects that embodied antagonistic traits and representing the dark side of human beings are often cast