Similarities Between Man And Monster In Beowulf

1329 Words 6 Pages
“I’ve learned a lot about good and evil and they are not always what they appear to be” (Doren 1).Often in life, the line between good and evil can be easily blurred and the difference between man and monster can be uncertain. Anonymously written, the epic poem of Beowulf expresses many examples of drawing parallels between man and beast, more specifically between heroes and villains. Although it is not unanimously agreed upon by scholars, Beowulf is believed to have been written in eighth century A.D in Britain (Acocella 1). Beowulf was thought to be read as a ballad or as entertainment for guests. Because it is an epic poem, Beowulf is full of heroes, villains, battles, and mystical beings. At first glance, it may seem as this ballad has …show more content…
Beginning with their ancestry, both Beowulf and Grendel have similar familial history. Although Beowulf is considered to have strong lineage, his father, Ecgtheow, was said to have been in a blood thirsty war because of a murder he committed (Beowulf 470). Just as Beowulf, Grendel is a descendant of a notorious killer: Cain. Secondly, both characters have protective mothers whose names were never mentioned. Even though Beowulf puts a huge emphasis on a hero’s strong lineage, both the villain and the hero have similar ancestry in this poem.
Also, Beowulf and Grendel have similar physical abilities. It is stated in the book that Grendel is able to carry thirty men in one hand, as he attacks the town (Beowulf 122). Similarly, when Beowulf is introduced, the author says that Beowulf has the strength of thirty men in his grip. (Beowulf 198) In both passages, the writer uses the same number, thirty, to emphasize their similarities. (Stitt 1) Normally, monstrous strength is an attribute that distinguishes an antagonist, but because both of these characters have inhumane abilities, the line between man and monster is
…show more content…
Often called a “hell-bride”, her femininity is reinforced but it is also stripped from her as she is frequently addressed in masculine nouns (Hennequin 511). The characters of women and men were drastically different from each other in Beowulf’s era, but this poems author blurs the two genders roles, which was extremely uncommon in this culture. Physically avenging her son was an enormous contradiction to women’s role to be a “peace weaver” or “silent avenger” (Fee 1). Instead, she is described as “aglaeca”, which is specifically used to describe a man warrior or beast. Going against this societal expectation makes Grendel’s Mother a monster in the eyes of that culture, rather than because she is inhumane. By combining the evil of beastly vengeance and the goodness of feminine nurturing into one character, Beowulf eliminates the element of right and wrong. Lastly, the author illustrates multiple parallels between the Dragon and Beowulf. By the end of the poem, Beowulf is approximately eighty years old, and has lost much of his strength. However, he is faced with the task of battling a fire-breathing dragon. It all begins when a slave steals a goblet from the Dragons lair and this provokes the beast to protect his warren by attacking the land of Gotland (Beowulf 2217). To protect his country, Beowulf decides to track down the Dragon and slay him, despite Beowulf’s

Related Documents