Joke: Beowulf and Defeats Grendel Essay

Submitted By calabrod
Words: 1272
Pages: 6

Literary Analysis
March 10, 2013
Literary Analysis: Grendel and Grendel’s Mother
Throughout the epic story of Beowulf the struggle of light and dark is apparent in many examples. The two main sources of the darkness for the story are provided by the first two monsters Beowulf must conquer in the defense of Herot. The horror of a monster named Grendel is what causes Beowulf to even travel to Herot, after his defeat the fury of Grendel’s mother causes another attack. Striking fear into the whole land of the Danes, these two monsters rule over the land for many years until Beowulf’s arrival. With their horrid appearances, actions, and homes Grendel and his mother perfectly represent pure evil and wage against the land of Herot, representing the good in the story. We learn first of Grendel in the epic of Beowulf, his hatred and scorn for all the singing and serenity of Herot is what drives him to attack the mead hall. Grendel stalked the precious kingdom by day, waiting until the night fall. Using this darkness as a shade or cover, Grendel crept out of his hiding and began his terror. Grendel snatched up men from their sleep and bit right through their bodies with ease. In total he leaves with thirty men for his enjoyment and feast, with the memory of pure fun for him and the thought to repeat his rampage. Continuing his sneaky plan of attack at night Grendel is able to keep fear struck in Herot for twelve years as people of the kingdom flee or became part of his feast. Grendel’s reign of horror over the kingdom is only brought to a halt after Beowulf is summoned by the king and defeats Grendel. The battle is fought fairly, with Beowulf fighting bear handed and unguarded. Beowulf waits in the night for Grendel to come on his attack one night and makes him pay the ultimate price. In the end of the battle, Beowulf rips off Grendel's arm and the kingdom of Herot rejoices. “From Beowulf’s victory over Grendel, the mood of the poem alternates between terror and horror at the monstrous enemy who evokes an audience’s fears—of the dark” (Beowulf, George Clark1). Grendel’s death is joyous for most, except for the very repulsive creature that had given birth to the monster Grendel. This creature only referred to in the epic as Grendel’s Mother is outraged at her son's massacre and plans to take her revenge for her dreaded lose. “That night they celebrate Beowulf’s victory and reward the hero richly for his deed; but after the celebration Grendel’s mother comes to the hall and avenges her son” (Beowulf. George Clark2). Within the epic Grendel’s Mother is described as having less power than Grendel, in saying she came with a woman's strength not to that of a mans. “Once Grendel’s mother attacked and entered. Her onslaught was less only by as much as an amazon warrior’s strength is less than an armed man’s” (Heaney, Seamus). Grendel’s Mother in her attack takes the king of the Danes Hrothgar’s best friend back to her home and eats him. Once again, the attack of the monster comes at night, after all the Danes had fallen asleep from all their fill of the celebration for Beowulf. Awaking to the horrible news and being crushed by the thought of his best friend being taking by such a foul best, Hrothgar called once again for Beowulf. Hrothgar order Beowulf to travel to the horrid lair of Grendel’s Mother and slay another monster that threatens Herot. All the happiness and enlightenment of the night prior had been taken all within one night and the kingdom of Herot slipped into bleak darkness just after cleansing the kingdom the first time. Once Beowulf was informed of the attack he went right to Hrothgar to find what he would be doing and where he would be going to rid the precious land of Herot of the veiling darkness. Talking to Hrothgar, Beowulf learns of the terrible lair of Grendel’s Mother. Beowulf is told by Hrothgar that Grendel’s Mother lives in a cave that is dark and mystical. Beowulf learns…