Good Vs Evil in “Beowulf”

The concept of good vs. evil originates from the ancient tales of Beowulf. In Beowulf, the clash between good and evil is the main point. The main character in the poem is Beowulf who represents all that is good in a legendary battle against Grendel, the monster who represents all evil. Beowulf is the chosen one who gets called down by Hrothgar, King of the Danes to save Herot. The Beowulf Poet uses literary devices such as strong diction, kennings and imagery to create the theme of good vs. evil. In conclusion, that’s why Beowulf is the greatest of all time.

When one reads the poem ‘Beowulf’, one feels an inner struggle within the poet between Christianity and paganism. The poem explores the two beliefs. In it, the characters pray to God and thank him. There are even biblical references to Cain and Abel. The townspeople see Beowulf as a god. They turn to God to save them from Evil. Yet, their actions do not coincide with Christian ways. The warriors are always killing for revenge. Reputation is the way of immortality. Beowulf speaks about fame and how that’s all he wants. This is a pagan quality. Also, Beowulf went to battle with an ogre, a sea witch and a dragon all pagan creatures. Some of the people were heathens. They had a heathen’s hope. They did not pray to God. Also, the warriors celebrated victories with gluttonous feasts and lots of beer. That is not exactly Christian behavior.

However, Beowulf had God when he was battling Grendel. That is why he had the strength of thirty men in his one hand. Here, Christianity proved stronger than Pagan beliefs. Beowulf was able to defeat Grendel. Beowulf pulls Grendel\’s arm off at the socket, mortally injuring the ogre. Grendel goes back to his swamp to die. Evil defeated, more feasting, and beer drinking ensues. But not for long.

Grendel’s mother comes seeking revenge for her son’s death. Beowulf slays her as well, in her sea cave. He cuts her head off with a sword made for a giant. Blood flows everywhere and up through the water. He decapitates Grendel’s corpse for good measure. Again, Christianity overcomes paganism.

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