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 prevails over evil. The idea of good triumphing over evil is shown in the battles between Beowulf and Grendel, Grendel’s mother and lastly the dragon.
The battle between Beowulf and the mighty marsh monster Grendel is the first occurrence of good prevailing over evil in the epic poem Beowulf. Beowulf, our poems main character, is a fearless warrior from Geatland who is called to the land of the Danes to defeat Grendel. Grendel is known to be the villain in this story not only because his opponent is the beloved Beowulf, but also because he is said to be a descendant of Cain who in the bible is banished from God. Grendel is referred to as “The shepherd of evil, guardian of crime” (lines 191). A battle was soon to arise between the two because of their distinctively different portraits to society. The encounter started when Grendel entered the Herot Hall thirsting for blood. Grendel grasped Beowulf from his sleep and the two began to battle all through the hall. The beast’s strength began to weaken and Beowulf crushed Grendel’s bone and finished him. “The battle was over, Beowulf/Had been granted new glory: Grendel escaped, /But wounded as he was could flee to his den, /His miserable hole at the bottom of the marsh, / Only to die, to wait for his end.”(lines 259-263). Beowulf defeating the enemy shows the theme of Good vs. Evil. Beowulf was praised for his courageous deed. Grendel, although he did not die immediately, was fatally injured and only returned to his home to die. Beowulf conquering Grendel shows that good
Klein 2 overcomes evil. Even though Beowulf was smaller in size compared to Grendel, Beowulf’s strength overpowered and brought him to victory. The battle between Beowulf and Grendel represents the consistent idea of good vs. evil. This idea is also shown in other battles, such as in the battle between Beowulf and Grendel’s mother.
Beowulf defeating Grendel’s powerful mother is another example of good triumphing over evil. Grendel’s mother sought to avenge the death of her son. Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, asks Beowulf again for his help in killing a murderous monster. Beowulf agrees, and is led to the water in which Grendel’s mother has her cave. Beowulf fearlessly entered the swamp to provoke “the mighty water witch” (lines 391) into battle. She snatched him into her claws and thrashed at him. Beowulf’s weapons had failed him. He “Discovered that no sword could slice her evil/ Skin,”(lines 395-396) Beowulf was now dependent only on his strength to kill Grendel’s mother. With the ultimate help of God’s grace, he was able to escape a fatal dagger to the chest and stand up from under her. Beowulf grabbed a mighty sword that was blessed by the gods’ magic. His declared his second victory when he “..lifted it high over his head/ And struck with all the strength he had left, / Caught her in the neck and cut it through, / Broke bones and all. Her body fell / To the floor, lifeless,” Beowulf made one final, fatal slash at Grendel’s mother. He severed her neck from the rest of the body and she immediately fell to the ground and died. Not only does this scene show Beowulf’s unquestionable strength, but it also shows good dominating over evil again, and this time with help from God. If it weren’t for God’s Divine Intervention, Beowulf would have died under the dagger of Grendel’s mother. However, God did intervene and good prevails because God is good. Beowulf is again declared a hero for