Beowulf Research Paper

Submitted By tinkerbell1953
Words: 849
Pages: 4

There are many ways to analyze a piece of literature. You can analyze it from a sociological point of view, a historical point of view, or a critical point of view. In the epic Beowulf, the reader must look at the story through a psychological lens. One must look at the psychological aspects of Beowulf’s battles and descents into unknown places. The prince’s actions are subconsciously affected by his childhood and past regrets. Beowulf’s confrontation with Grendel and Grendel’s mother represent the trip into Beowulf’s unconscious mind that is filled with hopes, fears, and secrets.
In the epic Beowulf, the great prince of Geat Beowulf travels to Denmark to help king Hrothgar. For 12 years now Hrothgar’s people have been terrorized by an evil monster named Grendel. Beowulf intends to fight and kill Grendel and free the people of Denmark. At night, in the great mead hall Herot, Beowulf fights Grendel alone and bare handed. He defeats Grendel, ripping his arm off and leaving the monster to die a lonely and painful death in his dark cave. Believing that all his problems have been solved, Hrothgar throws a feast in celebration. Unfortunately, there is still one more monster to face: Grendel’s mother. She is enraged at her son’s death and plans on murderous revenge. The night of the feast, while all the men are asleep, she comes into Herot and kills Hrothgar’s most loyal friend. Now, Beowulf must dive into the lake where she lives, swimming deep down to her underwater cave, and he must fight and defeat Grendel’s mother. Beowulf dives down and fights Grendel’s mother, defeating her with a sword made by giants that he found hanging on the wall of her cave. Beowulf emerges from the lake, several hours later, victorious. These two important battles not only represent Beowulf’s greatness as a hero, but they also represent his dive into his subconscious.
There are many ways to dive into ones subconscious. Robert Bly describes our subconscious as a “black bag”, where we store the parts of ourselves that we do not want to show to the world. We spend our early years deciding what parts of ourselves to put in the bag, and the rest of our lives trying to get them out again. Eventually, “the substance in the bag takes on a personality of its own”, it de-evolves into barbaric nature. Once we open the bag again, some twenty years later, the aggression escapes as a projection and attacks. What it attacks depends on what we unleash the projection onto. This can be seen in the film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, based off of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In the film, Dr. Jekyll believes that “good and evil are so close as to be chained together in the soul… [and] are constantly fighting one another”, and that when the evil side is in existence, that person “entirely [reverts] to the animal- sly thinking and vile, dangerous and rapacious”. This is proven true when Dr. Jekyll takes a potion and turns into Mr. Hyde. Mr. Hyde is the side of Dr. Jekyll that has been put away in his “black bag”. He is promiscuous, devious, and malicious. The only way to keep…