The Monsters of "Beowulf " Poem Review by anvilman

The Monsters of "Beowulf "
This essay addresses the role of the monsters in "Beowulf" and shows how they serve as a morality lesson for the people of that time.
# 116965 | 2,048 words | 1 source | MLA | 2007 | CA
Published on Nov 03, 2009 in Literature (English) , Literature (Poetry)

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This paper explains that "Beowul" tells, amongst other things, the story of three monsters and their battles. Grendel, Grendel's Mother, and the Dragon are the monsters who give Beowulf the opportunity to become the legendary hero he is, and they also came at important socio-political times. The paper tells us the monsters of "Beowulf" can, and should, be read as metaphors for greater meaning, not simply static characters who serve as punching bags for the hero. In addition, the authors of "Beowulf" constructed its monsters in such a way that the text could be used as a teaching tool, a piece of Anglo-Saxon propaganda to teach morals and explain defeat.

From the Paper:

"By abstaining from the use of conventional weaponry in his battle with Grendel, and only using a magical sword in his fight with Grendel's mother, Beowulf symbolically rejects the domestication of civilization that Hrothgar proffers and revels in his violent heritage. The intimate struggle with Grendel in Heorot where "hand met claw" exemplifies the meeting of two forms of violence: the repressed, tabooed and latent violence of Grendel, and the open, healthy and manifest violence of Beowulf. Because Grendel is presented as the negative manifestation of violence, Beowulf wins the fight and shows the reader how the respectful application of violence is always the strongest. This idea is presented in the gristly image of Beowulf holding "Grendel's claw" "from hand to shoulder" as his war souvenir, the prize of his battle and the death of his enemy (836, 835). That Grendel's arm is Beowulf's souvenir reminds the reader of Grendel's primitive, yet terrible, weapon."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Beowulf.Trans.Howell D Chickering.Jr.Toranto:Anchor Books,2006.

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