September 13, 2014
“Good or Evil?”
Beowulf, friend or foe? A story about a, “hero” named Beowulf, traveling into the Kingdom of Heorot to save the towns people from monstrous activity.
Beowulf is believed to be a hero because of his strength and loyalty to his people. However, his pursuit for heroic status was so dominating that it motivated his boastfulness, jealousy, selfishness and greed. Grendel, the bad guy in the story terrorizes Heorot by killing and eating many of its people. He kills not only for the sake of it and striking fear in to the hearts of the innocent, but also because the people of the town too had terrorized Grendel. He seemingly believed that slaughtering and destroying Heorot was his only way of releasing his frustration. Heorot and its people expressed their thoughts, feelings, and personalities through music, laughter and dance. Grendel had been excluded from the society, he had dwelt for a time in misery among the banished monsters, Cain's clan, whom the Creator had outlawed and condemned as outcasts. “The Almighty drove those demons out, and their exile was bitter, shut away from men;” (34). He was a murderer and a monster for his actions, while Beowulf symbolized a hero for killing him by ripping his arm and claw off, causing him to bleed to death.
After a dozen years of terror by Grendel, the Danes believe that they are finally safe and at peace. Until this point in the tale, Grendel has been mentioned as a solitary creature. “Although one monster has died, another still lives. From her lair in a cold and murky lake, where she has been brooding over her loss, Grendel’s mother emerges, bent on revenge” (45). She is never named in the poem only referred to as Grendel’s mother. While she is a monster like her son, someone has hurt him, and she will go to great lengths to avenge him. Grendel’s mother travels up from the lake and goes to the Mead hall. She has come for her son’s claw, which she is able to retrieve. She has also come for revenge. This motivation is one of the most human emotions, and if it was difficult to view of Grendel as the villain, it is even more difficult to view his mother as a total villain. She is willing to confront an entire hall full of warriors in order to avenge her son’s death, showing her devotion to her son.
The final part of the poem is about Beowulf’s…