beowulf essay

Submitted By rodgersj123
Words: 981
Pages: 4

Jacob Rodgers
10/23/2014
English IV
Light vs. Dark

In the epic poem Beowulf, a battle between light and dark arises throughout Heorot, and even though it looked as if darkness had fallen over society, light broke through the darkness, ultimately shining back onto civilization. This darkness that has fallen over Heorot follows Grendel, the monster from Hell, with every step he takes. Only coming out at night to terrorize the people, this darkness seems to be unbeatable, and all hope seems lost. But, Beowulf, a warrior who “swam in the blackness of night, hunting monsters out of the ocean, and killing them one by one” (Beowulf 417-422) has come to Heorot with the intention of driving out this darkness. This epic battle that is soon to take place will help to illuminate the difference between the light of Heorot and the darkness of Grendel. Leading up to the battle Heorot looks to be elegant and shining with beauty, but once Grendel and darkness enter into the halls, all of this goes away, and turns dark. Beowulf is called to the rescue, and brings with him the light that will ultimately defeat Grendel, and show that light will defeat darkness in the darkest times.
As the light begins to fade away in the halls of Heorot, Grendel arises from is lair and uses the darkness to create a fear of death. While the night sky is over-head, the soldiers are unable to see what lurks in the shadows, and the “{soldiers} sworn to stay after dark and stem that horror with a sweep of their swords. And then, in the morning, this mead-hall glittering with new light would be drenched with blood.” (Beowulf 480-484) This shows that whenever there is darkness, bloodshed and death is always lurking around the corner. Most people today do not commit crimes during the day, because the light makes them visible to the average man, but when the light has faded, they are unable to be seen and therefore commit evil things, just like Grendel. They use the darkness to hide themselves from the good so that they can raise fear in the victims mind, ultimately making them afraid of the dark. In comparison, Grendel uses his tactic of attacking during the night to create fear in the people’s mind because most people are afraid of what they cannot see, making Grendel look as if he is even more frightening then he may be. Once the light from the sun faded, “No one waited for reparation from his plundering claws: That shadow of death hunted in the darkness” (Beowulf 156-159), which means that this darkness brings with it death. This shows that everyone who had heard about Grendel feared him greatly, but because the night sky would fall upon them and they could not see, they were unfortunately unable to avoid him. In relation to this, whenever darkness falls over the real world, most people are visited by death and breathe their last breathe and are then taken away to even heaven or hell. This relates to what Grendel is in the book, who acts as a hand in death. Death is something that all people are unable to avoid, but there are ways to fight death and stay alive longer than expected, which is why it is better to follow in the light than in the darkness.
Beowulf brings with him the hope and strength to defeat Grendel, which would help to spread light back into Heorot and make the people feel safe even if it is covered in the darkness of night. Beowulf has this unique light that gives him courage and the power to defeat the darkness that lurks out of sight. Some of the monsters aren’t…