L. Andrew Cooper and Brandy Ball Blake are analytical when explaining the origins of monsters and how every monster ever told in a tall tale or written in a novel, represents good or bad omens. All of the monsters described were analyzed in depth but left the door open to questions about how monsters have changed over the past hundred years. For example, monsters told in stories by the elderly hundreds of years ago were warnings about the dangers that could occur when tampering with nature or with gods. In Greek mythology, almost all stories that talked about mortals, demigods, and monsters, sent a message to the empire of Greece to respect and obey the gods in order for the god to have mercy on them. For example, the story of Arachne the weaver and Athena explained how challenging a god could end in a fatal decision.
In the epic poem Beowulf, the protagonist, Beowulf, faces three “monsters” at different times in his life. The poem begins with Grendel, a monster who attacks only in the dark of night, tormenting the kingdom of Hrothgar. The last two sections of the epic detail the conquering by Beowulf of Grendel’s mother and the dragon. The battle between the monsters and Beowulf represent the theme of good versus evil in the poem, as well as the fusion of pagan and Christian ideals in the changing Germanic society. Grendel’s mother’s actions directly juxtapose the role of a woman in this time period, and the greediness of the dragon with his treasure contrasts with the virtues of what would be considered a good king.
The monster archetype has been one of the most riveting archetypes that surrounds the concept of ‘evil’. It has been portrayed as a supernatural creature with grotesque features that normally brings disruption to the city and needs to be tamed or controlled to bring once again peace to the story. Due to this, it is most commonly depicted with a negative connotation, and with the idea of horror and fear. The monster has been present since the bible, which was written approximately 3,400 years ago, with the anecdote of Goliath. It has remained with its primary role of converting the protagonist into a hero and providing fear to the storyline. The monster archetype in both modern and ancient literature has been shaped to benefit the protagonist, which is depicted with the conversion of the protagonist to the hero, the element of the climax, and its important role of protection.
Grendel was known to have attacked innocent soldiers, however; Beowulf attacks, and kills Grendel whereas, his mother will soon take out revenge on his killer.
Obsession can lead us to do some ludicrous things. With obsession in us, we can find ourselves in situations far out of our comfort zone. It drives us to focus on one specific item and intermittently, causes our personalities and goals to change. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien, is just one case of characters with obsession. The dwarves, elves, goblins, wargs and goblins all show obsession, with the exception of Bilbo Baggins. In The Hobbit, Tolkien uses the treasure, the ring, and the Arkenstone to symbolize the obsession of all peoples, in stark contrast to Bilbo’s lack thereof.
The monster in Beowulf, known as Grendel, is a representation of human fear, hatred, and impulse. On page 44, the narrator states, " He found them sprawled in sleep, suspecting nothing, their dreams undisturbed... He slipped through the door and there in the silence snatched up thirty men, smashed them..." Because the Anglo Saxons mainly lived on the coast of England, they feared that vikings or some other enemy will come attack them in the middle of the night. Grendel, this excerpt is a reflection of that fear,where Grendel is the enemy. On page 48, Beowulf states, "I have heard, too, that the monster's scorn of men is so great that he needs no weapons and fears none." As you can see, Grendel's hatred is strong. He is hate personified and
Monsters are born in literature through their words, origins, thoughts, and actions. Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer, as well as Burton Raffel’s Beowulf, contain such monsters that are large impediments to the hero’s quest. Also the expeditions or quests are affected in terms of intimidation by the monsters who are always overwhelming at first to the pessimistic eye such as how the Israelites viewed Goliath, the Philistine, when David went to fight him.
Joseph Campbell, a renowned mythologist and professor studied mythology and traditional stories. He defined a hero as “someone who has given his or her life for something bigger than oneself.” His creation of the Hero’s Journey structured the storyline for so many stories to come, including The Hobbit. J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel follows the adventure of Bilbo Baggins, an ordinary hobbit turned hero. Gandalf, a wizard forces Bilbo on an adventure to regain treasure with thirteen dwarves. The company faces many challenges while Gandalf aids them. Eventually, Bilbo becomes forced to take charge and lead the company to the mountain. The experiences Bilbo encounters throughout his journey define and shape him into the hero he becomes.
In the epic poem Beowulf, the archetype of the hero is shown when Beowulf uses strength, bravery, and loyalty to defeat evil. The Anglo – Saxon values these qualities. Since Beowulf was a great warrior, his name was well known for all his accomplishments. Beowulf wanted to be remember for what he did. Bewoulf wanted to be remember like his father was remember.
In Gardener’s Grendel, the monster is characterized as a sensitive human. He feels that no one accepts him. Grendel feels like he has no one and he doesn’t want to accept his designated role as “The Great Destroyer”. Grendel desires to be accepted by man is overlooked by his terrifying looks. “Mercy! Peace!” (Gardener ). He exclaims his wanting of peace with man, but no one really considers it because he is hold a dead man’s body. In Beowulf, on the other hand, Grendel is described as the exact opposite. He is cowardly monster who was “insensible to pain and human sorrows, “(Rafeal ). He does not care about how hurts the general public, it almost like he kills for
In the poem Beowulf, there is a contrast between good and evil. This distinction is presented through the monsters Grendel and his mother, in parallel to the hero Beowulf. The themes of evil and monstrosity are therefore used in the story, as a way to create the notion of Grendel and his mother as monsters. Beowulf therefore appears as a character representing good. Although Beowulf shows traits of abnormal power, like Grendel and his mother, his motifs are interpreted differently.
A genuine definition of a monster is an "imaginary creature that is typically large, ugly, and frightening," but in the poem Beowulf a monster has much more meaning than just an imaginary creature. Monsters were commonly used in stories written during the pagan times. Throughout the plot of ‘Beowulf,' the protagonist Beowulf faces many obstacles that include fighting monsters: Grendel, Grendel's mother, and a Dragon. The monsters in Beowulf are present for a substantial reason to contribute towards the story, and they are symbolic of many qualities in the Anglo-Saxon culture.
Dragons in the hobbit can be found both literally and figuratively.Depending on your perspective you may interpret Smaug, Thorin, or any one of the other dwarves as the dragon. However, I think each one of these characters contains an inner dragon, some more than others.
There have been many tales told around the world about monsters, but each has their own dwelling place. Although, they all have one thing in common: it is a dark place where no one dares to enter. Normally this would be a cave, swamp, or castle. No light may go past the front door. They lurk in the shadows, invisible as they hide behind the night sky. After they have done their evil deed, it’s time to go back to the darkness where they wait until the next night to strike again.
Since the beginning of time, heroes in society have constantly changed. As society changed their perception of people, modern-day heroes such as Superman and Batman differ much from the heroes of Anglo-Saxon times like Beowulf. Characteristics of monsters within this time interval has also changed with society’s views. The element of fear affects our perception in distinguishing a hero from a monster.