Evil In Beowulf

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ver time, humans have always created stories and conjured up personifications of evil to explain the unknown - whether it was the myth of the vampire, spurred on by Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the receding of skin that causes a corpse’s nails to appear longer, or the myth of Wendigos, a create of evil in Native American culture. Many cultures and civilizations, new and old, have their fairytales and monsters in the dark, to explain the unknown. We see this in Beowulf, where Grendel is a representation of Satanic evil in the Bible due to the heavy influence of faith in Germanic warrior society, as opposed to monsters in modern society such as the zombie, which is a reflection of evolving political fears. In Beowulf, the first antagonist the reader…show more content…
American culture, particularly within the last century, has morphed and changed with each different crisis. However, there is always a recurrent monster that haunts us: the decrepit zombie. A creature described as fear itself - “... gray-skinned and bloodied, missing a limb … arms reaching out for supple flesh … it hobbles over its own intestines and chatters its decaying teeth” (Crockett, 2016). In a 2016 Vox article, a sociopolitical evaluation of the zombie was observed through American culture; it all starts from 1915 - Haiti gained independence from France, and then the United States occupied the island. An American man, William Seabrook, learned of the voodoo “zombi”, in which Haitians believed those with heavy sin lingered beyond death and became mindless servants. He recorded meeting four “zombies”, slaves employed by American manufacturers and made to work in squalid conditions, but he was ignorant to this and instead noted them as supernatural monsters (Crockett, 2016). Fast forward to 1940s, World War II was emerging, and zombies became an important part of media to expose fears of communist governments and atomic warfare. In the 1960s, the movie Night of the Living Dead which featured “... closing credits of the film are a series of still, grainy images, in which a mob of white Southerners puncture Ben’s lifeless body with meat hooks … final shot
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