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Beowulf is one of the most brilliant epic poems that praises heroic deeds, bravery, and strong will. The Old English poem was composed by an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet around X century. Since then, it has been known as a brilliant piece of writing, which depicts the power of a mortal human, his will to survive and fight, and live a life without any illusions. The main hero of the poem, Beowulf, encounters several evils with which he takes up to struggle.
The first example of the evil we meet is the character of Grendel, a frightening descendant of Cain, the horrible monster who despises humankind and loathes everything joyful and pleasant. This creature is mysterious and is not even depicted in detail, which allows the imagination of a reader to create a monster’s image. Grendel is very vicious, cruel, vindictive, and repellant. Grendel is the representative of the physical evil in its worst features, in no possession of morals. This creature is not able to have a feeling of mercy or forgiveness. Beowulf fights his first battle against physical evil, against monster-looking ogre Grendel. He eventually wins, pushing the evil monster away into the agony of death.
The second evil is represented by Grendel’s mother, appearing on the feast after big Beowulf’s victory and trying to take revenge after her son’s death. She’s full of hatred and thirst for vengeance, which is moral evil that knows no way back until her desire will be satisfied. Grendel’s mother meets Beowulf in her mere where she was a ruler for hundreds of years, which is more advantage for her than the brave hero. However, eventually, Beowulf finds a magical sword with the help of which he manages to defeat her and get an even bigger trophy. As monstrous as Grendel’s mother is, she shows the feelings typical for humans, such as pain from the loss, which is why her yen for revenge is understandable and shows that she’s the evil that has more in common with the humans than the monsters.
Eventually, aged Beowulf encounters another evil – the dragon who personifies the metaphysical evil. As this vicious and dreadful creature appears in Beowulf’s kingdom at night, burning several homes and terrorizing all the people, it becomes clear for the king that the only way out is to fight the evil one more time. Being old and much slower, Beowulf fearlessly meets the last monster, the last obstacle in his life. He manages to defeat the fearsome creature, but he has to pay for this with his own life.
This heroic poem shows the rise and fall of human’s life, as well as the power of bravery and strong will, sage and vigor. The brilliant story about the great hero with unsurmountable spirit, whose deeds prove the invincibility of humankind. Beowulf’s battles against physical, moral and metaphysical evils represent, metaphorically speaking, all the sides of lives, which makes this heroic OE tale famous and, for sure, worth reading.
Category: Research Paper