Beowulf Essay

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Beowulf is an Anglo-Saxon epic poem that portrays a story of an epic hero who seems destined to destroy all “monsters” in order to save a kingdom from death and destruction. The major theme in this epic surrounds the concept of good versus evil. Good versus evil has existed throughout time, in that, heroes have defended the righteous and villains were bent on destruction. In this case, Beowulf and Grendel represent the ultimate struggle of good and evil. Beowulf represents the ability to do good, and perform selfless acts in order to help others. Through his heroic deeds, Beowulf is the embodiment of good. On the other hand, Grendel is not just a nemesis or an antagonist. He is the real thing in that he is pure unadulterated evil, there is no room to change and he can never be redeemed. Throughout the epic, all portrayals of good demonstrate the ability to cleanse the world of evil. More specifically, in the epic Beowulf, the concept of light and dark is a reoccurring theme where light represents good and dark represents evil. The light and dark imagery used in Beowulf helps to make contrasts between good and evil especially in the episodes of battle. “So, after nightfall, Grendel set out/……./Suddenly then the God-cursed brute was creating havoc/……/Then as dawn brightened and the day broke/Grendel’s powers of destruction were plain.”(Lines 115-129). When Heorot is attacked, the imagery of light and dark can be seen in that it implies that Grendel only attacks at night, because once daylight emerges Grendel loses his powers. The darkness of the night represents evil which also reinforces the idea that Grendel is pure evil. “He took over Heorot/haunted the glittering hall after dark/but the throne itself, the treasure-seat/he was kept from approaching; he was the Lord’s outcast” (lines 166-169). This is another instance where the light and dark imagery collided

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