What Is The Symbolism In Beowulf

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In this poem, Beowulf, a warrior of the Geats comes to the rescue of Hrothgar, whose kingdom is being attacked by the monster Grendel. Beowulf eventually comes to the throne and battles two more monsters in his life. The poem reflects little on the physical attributes of the monsters, leaving it to the imagination of the readers. Yet, the words chosen to reflect Grendel, his mother, and the dragon, depict the characteristics of them. The battles between the monsters and Beowulf and the symbolism that they hold, although quite different, allow the reader to see a progression of Beowulf and his story. Grendel, along with his mother, is a descendant of Cain, the first murderer in history. Already this introduction depicts quite a villainous character. In one of the stories about Grendel, “He journeyed, forever joyless, / Straight to the door, then snapped it open, / Tore its iron fasteners with a touch / And rushed angrily over the threshold. / He strode across the inlaid / Floor, snarling and fierce: …show more content…
Yet, they each symbolize something of their own. Grendel represents the dark side of humans. Grendel comes from Cain, who becomes the first murderer after he kills his brother, which reinforces that he represents human nature. Greed and jealousy are common traits in humans and Grendel manifests these traits into malignancy. The battle with Grendel’s mother represents the moment in which Beowulf seeks battle in an unknown place and ends up winning. He looks for Grendel’s mother instead of waiting for her and ends up representing a challenge between victory and defeat, a struggle. Lastly, the dragon symbolizes death. Despite Beowulf’s strength, he is unable to defeat a powerful monster and does not survive the aftermath. The dragon shows that no amount of fighting can allow you to escape death/defeat. That is exactly what happens to Beowulf and will soon happen to

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