Comparing Grendel's Mother And The Dragon In Beowulf

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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.
In the first section of the poem, Grendel
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The “Monstrous ogress” was “savage in her grief,” and her actions become even more beastly than her sons (Beowulf 1258-76). Women in this Germanic Warrior society were meek, so the actions of Grendel’s mother greatly contrast with the typical behavior of a woman in this time period. Grendel’s mother’s gruesome actions are beastly in nature, but her emotions of outrage and grief for the murder of her son are human. Once again, Beowulf’s victory of the savage monster shows the overall theme of good winning against evil.
The third and final evil Beowulf must face is the dragon. At this point in the poem, Beowulf has been the “ring-giver” or king for half a century (Beowulf 2207). The role of a king in Germanic times included rewarding warriors with treasure captured in battle; however, the dragon keeps his treasure to himself. This greediness is in direct opposition to the qualities of a good king, and the dragon becomes the representation of selfishness and destruction. Beowulf takes on the role of a warrior once again, and defeats the dragon. Beowulf is injured in the fight, and he dies along side his defeated
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