Essay On Personification Of Evil In Beowulf

754 Words4 Pages
Beowulf is an epic poem which sings of the heroic conquests of one legendary hero. It calls its hearers to the heroic life, but holds out no false hopes for a “happily ever after,” an ending exemplified in the Odyssey, another epic poem. In opposition to it, Beowulf shows that wyrd will have its way and all must die when it is time. However although no man can defeat fate and escape death itself, personified in three monstrous enemies, Beowulf faces the physical, moral, and metaphysical evils. After those hard fought battles, Beowulf ends with accepting his victories as well as his inevitable death. Grendel, a descendant of Cain (l.106), is the first personification of the fearsome and frightening image of physical evil. His own physical features are never described, leaving it to the imagination of the…show more content…
Human concepts of vengeance and codes of honor, especially from the time of Beowulf, call for “an eye for an eye.” By those standards, Grendel’s mother acts honorably in an attempt to avenge her son. In an ironic reversal of the previous battle, Beowulf confidently follows her, bursts into her home, and she welcomes him in an embrace: “she lunged and clutched and managed to catch him in her brutal grip.”(l.1501-2) When he tries to use his newly acquired heirloom sword Hrunting, one which had been through many battles, “it spared her and failed the man in his need,”(l.1524-5) surely a sign of his sin. This is an ignoble battle, and even though Beowulf is ultimately victorious, Grendel’s mother anger was morally justified even by the standards of her opponent. Beowulf was also confronted by his own mortality and the possibility that he isn’t invincible: “if God had not helped me, the outcome would have been quick and fatal.”(l.1657-8) Faced with that reality, Beowulf is initiated into adulthood and a world of complex moral

More about Essay On Personification Of Evil In Beowulf

Open Document