1. Shield was regarded as a good king. Still thriving as a King when he came to pass. Shield fathered a famous son, Beow. Beow took throne following the death of Shield and is called as the gift of God. Hrothgar was a talented war leader, fortune was on his side and with that followed more recruits to enable a larger more powerful army. It was under his control that the mead hall, named Heorot, was created, meant to be a wonder of the world forever.
Hrothgar also seems to be a gift from God. Grendel the demon is obviously portrayed as evil, evidently the name demon shows that, but in addition, his name is not revealed immediately like the characters before him, so the author is trying to build a sense of suspense letting his other adjectives to describe him before saying his name. The creation and use of Heorot is what seemed to have driven Grendel to madness or anger. There is foreshadowing used following the creation of Heorot, it is said that it is awaiting a barbarous burning. Everything that Grendel does, the author writes with a negative connotation, using words like creating havoc, merciless, gruesome and never showing remorse. Beowulf is shown as this epic mercenary and seen as a class higher than everyone else, due to the weaponry, bravery and courage that Beowulf had. Unferth seemed to be the only person who doubted Beowulf, bringing up a story from the past about a swimming match in which Beowulf lost.
He is the skeptical person that did not believe Beowulf could last a night with Grendel, as no one else was able in the past. Which is odd because it is stated that Beowulf swam with both a sword and chain mail armor on, killing nine creatures, making it that much more difficult and, he swam for five nights. Wealhtheow is the Queen and she is shown to be generous, giving the homeland guardian a cup to drink because he was dear to her. Naturally she was adored in her gold and continued to offer drinks to various people of various ranks.
2. The text does not necessarily define good versus bad however it does give off certain connotations to each character that leads the reader to thinking whether or not they are in fact good or bad. Grendel and Beowulf both begin their entrance to the story without actually having their name mentioned until the reader understands their position, be it gruesome or heroic. Some of the features of a good king is that they were sent by God, all of the good kings reigned for a longer period of time and were a gift to their people. As far as the warriors hallmarks, Beowulf is evidently a strong warrior and is portrayed as that, without doubt, from his chain armor to his shining sword and bravery. With that information, and with the information that Beowulf gathered other warriors, it can be gathered that they as well are strong, otherwise why would Beowulf pick them to take on this journey of fighting a monster that several other men could not even fend off for a single night.
3. The Christian assertions are evident throughout the text, from one person saying may God be with them to Kings being literal gifts from God. This is a very explicit showing of the faith in God from man, by everyone. In addition, it is said that before Beowulf came, the Danish people hoped for anything to help them rid of Grendel, including the Devil, stating that they vowed offerings to idols and swore oaths that the killer of souls, or the Devil, come and save them. When Beowulf goes to fight with Grendel, he says that no matter the outcome of the fight, him or Grendel being victorious, the Lord will grant the glory to the winner, whoever the Lord sees fit.
4. From the first telling of Grendel, his name is withheld from the reader and is only told of the fearsome, prowling demon that come to them and gruesomely murder them come the night time when Grendel does in fact have power because when sunrise comes, his powers are plain. Grendel is never referred to as a good creature, though divine perhaps in the sense that he himself has God given powers that no one other than Beowulf possesses.
It is said that Grendel is a descendent of Cain, though not specifically his father however, the curse and banishment from God could still be flowing through the family line as the curse could be more severe due to it being the first murder, Cain killing his brother Abel. Grendels Mother not being named is an interesting note and could be perceived as a flair from the author because Grendel was slain and his Mother wanted revenge; however, had she been named, there is potential that she would purely be viewed as another monster, similar to Grendel rather than a Mother going to great lengths to attack Heorot out of spite for the murder of Grendel. She only needs to be known as the Mother and without identity because the reader only needs to think that the Mother has justification for attacking Heorot.
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