Theme Of Alienation In Beowulf

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Alienation is a core theme in “Beowulf” and is the deep emotion responsible for many of the character’s actions and behavior. Beowulf is unlike any other man known at the time, and with that power and responsibility comes the feeling of being apart from all others and unable to truly relate to another human being. Grendel is banished as a monster initially because he is a descendant from Cain, and therefore has much disdain and envy for the people of Heorot, especially when they are joyous and singing in unity in the mead hall. In addition to the feeling of alienation shared by these two main characters, what is unnoticed even more so is the alienation of every man. It is not really mentioned (as every man is a “son…show more content…
The poet refers to Beowulf saying, “There was no one else like him alive. / In his day, he was the mightiest man on earth, / highborn and powerful” (ll.196-198). This clearly states his very special role and his importance to those who need help defending themselves. One could say that with such power it is his duty to fight these monsters and save the kingdom. Beowulf is aware of his duty, and whether he likes it or not, he is obligated to live for the sole purpose of winning battles and fighting monsters to save those who are weaker than he. In lines 2532-2535, Beowulf tells the people that it is up to him to fight the dragon: “This fight is not yours, / nor is it up to any man except me / to measure his strength against the monster / or to prove his worth.” He knows that he is the only one in the world who can battle such battles, and such knowledge most definitely alienates him from all others. Throughout his life he is set apart. There is no one who can truly relate or put themselves in his shoes. He has responsibilities he cannot forsake. Many people look up to him with blind expectations that he will defend them and protect them, and if he ever did not, they would not love him and his previous favors would be forgotten. As a valiant hero and perhaps more so as a wise king, he leads a life of confided emotions and inescapable responsibilities that set him apart from the rest of the world

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