Beowulf: the Concept of Good and Evil Although it was written thousands of years ago, the famous epic, Beowulf, still remains one of the most turned to hero tails in the world. It is known to be the oldest form of English literature and possibly one of the most important. The protagonist, Beowulf, is the immortally human hero. Beowulf is a mighty Geat warrior who’s courage is looked to globally. The tails of Beowulf have been passed down from generation to generation for at least a millennium. Beowulf’s story has been manipulated into modern stories: Superman, Spiderman, ect. Though the epic Beowulf is imbued with lessons on life, one of the most apparent is the confrontation between good and evil. First, the good. Good and evil do not exist as only opposites, but that both qualities are present in everyone. Beowulf represents the ability to do good; to perform acts selflessly for the sake of others. Goodness is also shown throughout this epic as having the ability to cleanse evil. Beowulf takes it upon himself to announce several great deeds that he will perform to help countries in need. One of these deeds is his offer to King Hrothgar, in which he proposes to slay Grendel. Beowulf states, "Single-handed I'll settle the strife!"( ). Another selfless act Beowulf embarks on his slaying of Grendel's mother. Beowulf declares, "And I give you pledge, She (Grendel's mother) shall not in safety escape to cover." ( ). Goodness is not only portrayed by selfless acts, but also by it's ability to purge and cleanse evil. This is first shown after Beowulf slays Grendel. The poet says, "(Beowulf) Had purged of evil the hall of Hrothgar, and cleansed of crime; the heart of the hero." The good done by Beowulf is shown to have the ability to cleanse Herot of evil. Beowulf, obviously representing good, has to triumph over evil, the three monsters.
Even pride, a human quality, is presented in Beowulf as a sign that evil exists. Unferth, Hrothgar’s right hand man, criticizes Beowulf’s superiority as a soldier. It is later told that just
The Light in Death
In Beowulf, Grendal’s menacing rampage causes unrest in the Dane’s kingdom. An unexpected hero, Beowulf, comes to triumph over Grendal’s evil and in the manner of his death, the author expounds the theme that if one has faith in the light, anything is possible.
Grendal had terrorized king Hrothgar’s kingdom for 12 years, slaughtering his men and soldiers in hall Heorot and no one had been able to stop him until Beowulf came. Grendal was a dark, evil monster that no man, however…
Beowulf Essay 2
Good Faces Evil and Prevails
“God did not create evil. Just as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of God.”- Albert Einstein. Beowulf, whose author is unknown, is an epic poem that was written between 700 and 1000AD. Throughout the poem, there is a series of battles in which the main character, Beowulf, must defeat various monsters using his strength and God’s grace. Each battle draws a clear distinction between good and evil, showing that good always…
Beowulf is an epic tale of the good and evil in life. The problem of evil, greed and revenge are all occurring troubles in this tale. Beowulf defeats the evil called Grendel in his first battle. This battle shows how brave and how much courage Beowulf has. Next, Beowulf needs to overcome the trouble of greed. The Dragon in this epic tale signifies the greed Beowulf has. During this part of the tale Beowulf is an older man and has to fight the…
Good Triumph over Evil
Beowulf is one of the earliest surviving Anglo-Saxon epic poems. It illustrates the story of Beowulf, an epic hero fated to triumph demonic monster in order to save a kingdom from destruction. In Beowulf, the conflict between good and evil is the main theme. The epic poem portrays Beowulf’s experiences coming from land of the Geats to save Danes. Throughout his adventures, Beowulf is fighting against evil, whether it is Grendel, Grendel’s…
December 9, 2014
Comparisons of Good versus Evil in Beowulf
Beowulf the great Anglo-Saxon epic presents readers with a glimpse into the time period of Anglo-Saxons. Beowulf, written in a somber tone and reflects the achievements of the hero Beowulf. This epic poem displays many contrasts between good and evil. Although this is a fictional piece of literature, the struggle between good versus evil is an unchanging problem in society. This can correlate to terrorism…
In the epic poem Beowulf, it can be said that a Christian could have written this poem. Seamus Heaney utilizes Christian values and elements in this story to express the main characters. Beowulf, also known as the great hero along with the demons, embraces the characteristics that are similar to the characters of those stated in the bible. Completing the poem, Seamus Heaney directly illustrates for the reader that Beowulf is a man lined with great Christian values and is a character…
themes. Beowulf contains four themes. “A theme in a literary work is a recurring, unifying subject or idea, a motif that allows us to understand more deeply the character and their world. In Beowulf, the major themes reflect the values and the motivations of the characters” (Baldwin). In Beowulf, good v. evil emerges in the fight between Beowulf and Grendel, fate arises in Beowulf’s final battle, and desire for fame appears in the battle with Grendel’s mother.
In the fight between Beowulf and Grendel…
Name: Imon/ 3-4-13/ English
THESIS: Beowulf is interesting because of what it shows us about Anglo-Saxon poetry and culture.
Your thesis #1: Beowulf gives an accurate description on Anglo-Saxon poetry and culture.
Your thesis #2: In Beowulf, essentials of Anglo-Saxon poetry and culture are incorporated throughout the story.
One aspect of Anglo-Saxon poetry that is evident in Beowulf is the use of kennings. These creative word-combinations appear throughout the story, naming objects in interesting…
have stood for good instead of evil. While one uses wizardry to defeat evil, the other uses brute strength. Neither of them are from the same regions of the world or era in time but both would no doubt be willing to stand arm and arm to fight the others battle with them.
Both men, went to other lands in order to fight great evil and to help those who were being tormented and down trodden by the evil that was tormenting them. Gandolf was much older and more experienced then Beowulf. He was a member…
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…