Evil Is The Dragon In Beowulf

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Evil is defined as morally wrong or bad. Usually when something is evil, people will rally against it and try to purge it from the land. Yet, when a creature is put in a scenario that would even cause a human to become furious, how can it be deemed evil? A dragon is a beast, and in Beowulf it is simply an animal. An animal cannot be judged on standards for humans. The acts done by a beast are based on a different scale than the acts of a human. For an animal has neither the level of intelligence nor sentience of a human being. This is why a dragon cannot be judged on its actions alone, but must also have its actions understood in the context of the situation. This is why the dragon in Beowulf is not an evil creature. The dragon in Beowulf …show more content…
Yet, this dragon is acting in the only way it knows how. Its natural instinct is to destroy anything in its path until it finds what it is seeking. The dragon’s reaction is not unlike a child having a temper tantrum. Children will whine, cry, scream, run around, and even break things until they either get what they want or grow tired of its tantrum and accept their fate. This dragon is only having a temper tantrum. It wants its goblet back and will roar, destroy, and potentially kill until it gets it back. Others would try and say that the Geats did believe that the dragon was evil when they call it a monster. While they may say that the dragon is a monster, in the context of the poem the word monster does not mean an evil creature bent on destroying humankind. For example, Beowulf talks of how he will “…feel no shame, with shield and sword and armor, against this monster…” (2522-2523). When Beowulf talks of fighting the dragon, he does call it a monster, but not in the sense that it is evil. Instead Beowulf calls the dragon a monster in the fact that it is a strong opponent that he cannot best with his might alone. Also, some people would say that the dragon itself is an evil description. Many mythologies and religions put the image of a dragon in a dark light, and put it among the creatures of a greater evil. In this poem, the dragon is not an evil image. The dragon is shown to be a worthy opponent of Beowulf. “The beast came closer; both of them were ready, each set on slaughter” (2564-2565). If the dragon is to be shown in an evil light, then so is Beowulf for each has the same desire, to slay the foe that stands before them. Each has the same urge to kill the other so that it may continue its life. The only difference is that Beowulf also fights for his people. While his goal may be honorable, it does not make the dragon’s goal of self preservation

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