Beowulf and Grendel: Good Vs. Evil
Good and evil have always played a classic role in many books. There is a constant battle on which side wins. Many heroes and villains are created with the characteristics of good vs. evil. An example of this is Beowulf vs. Grendel. Beowulf is trying to save the people and get noticed while Grendel is trying to wreak havoc on the town. Beowulf uses Grendel to become popular among the people. Grendel is a descendent of Cain, who killed his brother, Abel. In the Epic Beowulf, Beowulf is portrayed as good because he is trying to save the town from Grendel’s destruction and terror.
Grendel comes to Mead hall and eats the soldiers of the town. He comes to the town when they are most valuable, pasted out drunk. Unaware of what is around them, they crash in the hall. Grendel terrorizes the town so much that they have to shut down Mead Hall for fifty years. After fifty years the king reopens it and once again Grendel is there to terrorize the people. The king gets angry and sends Beowulf after him. Beowulf sees this as a chance to become well known around the people, he takes the challenge to hunt down Grendel.
The battle between Grendel and Beowulf could be seen as a battle between good and evil. Beowulf is unarmed because he believes that it would be disadvantage if he was armed and Grendel was not. This shows that Beowulf wants a fair battle and that good will win even when there is no advantage for good. Beowulf waits for Grendel to show up at the hall, this is where the battle takes place. Beowulf is unarmed and manages to still win. He rips off Grendel’s arm and then hangs it up as a symbol of pride. The town has a party and rejoices in Beowulf’s victory. Another example of good vs. vil is when Beowulf fights the dragon, this is because someone stole a golden cup from the dragon and Beowulf protects the town from the dragon.
In the process Beowulf dies from the dragon’s poison, however, Wiglaf is there to become the next king. This shows that even though the main character dies, good still comes out from it, which is that the dragon dies as well and can no longer terrorize the town. Beowulf is seen as good because he tries to save the people of the town. He does all he can which includes becoming a king and makes sure nothing bad happens to the town.
Grendel is seen as evil because he kills the people of the town even though they haven’t done anything to him. Grendel’s home can be related to hell. It is very lonely, dark and away from town. Being dark can be related to evil because it is the opposite of light, which represents hope and fundamental goodness. Hrogthar talks about the town being “this mead-hall glittering with new light” (Beowulf 485). The town can be seen as heaven, because people are always partying and having a good time. In the novel Grendel, Grendel is the good guy while Beowulf is seen as evil. This novel is told from Grendel’s view.
Grendel is lonely and tries to get an understanding of the world around him. He first explores the lake of firesnakes and continues to explore past that. He is then attacked by a bull and realizes that the world around him is crazy and unkind to him. Grendel gets away from the bull by hiding in a tree. He wakes up to people around him, he understands them but they do not understand him. They first think that he is a fungus but conclude that he must be a tree spirit. They decide to feed him and Grendel laughs out loud and the people misunderstand his laugh and believe that he is mad.
They decide to attack him; Grendel’s mother comes to save him. Grendel figures out that the humans are totally different from his mom and him. However overtime Grendel also finds out that his mom and him are two different people. He realizes this when the bull attacks him; no one is there to help him. Grendel finds a body in the forest and a few feet later see a couple. He doesn’t realize how different the human’s personality can be. He carries the body to the hall trying to help the man out; instead people of the town chase him away with axes and spears.
He yells out to the people “Mercy! Peace!… Friend! Friend! ” (Gardner 51-52). The people are too drunk to realize what Grendel is saying. They attack him and Grendel flees instead of fighting the humans. He doesn’t understand why they want to hurt him, he soon becomes a victim of his own idea in which he wants to learn about the humans. This could be seen as a battle of good vs. evil because he wants to learn more but the humans are misunderstanding his purpose. Grendel meets the dragon, where he is told about all things about the humans.
He tells Grendel that there is no point in trying to be accepted by the humans because they are narrow minded and the belief that they have will not change. Grendel’s mind now has a different mind set about the humans then he did he before. He sees the human as danger to him because they want to hurt him and the dragon says that the human will kill everything off and the only way to prevent that is to defend himself by killing them. When the story is told from Grendel’s view, it is a totally different on who is evil and who is good. Grendel becomes the good guy.
He is trying to learn from the humans but they will not let him. The dragon changes the view of Grendel about the humans. The dragon convinces Grendel that the humans will not accept him. The human won’t let him get anywhere close to them, not even when he is trying to him them out. They chase him away with their weapons, its all a misunderstanding. Beowulf and the movie are similar but there are some things that are very different. The first is the ending in the book Beowulf goes back to the land of the Geats to take over for his uncle however in the move he stays in Denmark and becomes Hrogther’ king.
Another major difference the role of Grendel’s mother. In the novel, Beowulf kills her as a sign of peace to the kingdom; he does anything to protect the town. In the movie Beowulf becomes attracted to Grendel’s mother, they make love and have a monster and human characteristic. Beowulf lies to the king when asked about killing Grendel’s mother. Grendel’s mother is described as beast in the epic, however, in the movie she does not look like a beast at all. In the novel Beowulf plays the role of loyalty and dedication to the King and his people.
In the movie he puts his Grendel’s mother over his people and the town. He is no longer seen as the strong and loyal person as seen in the book. Another difference between the movie and epic is the battle between Grendel and Beowulf . In the movie, Beowulf is nude when he fights Grendel, however in the epic Beowulf just takes off his amour and sword. The last difference is that the epic is thought to be told in a Christian’s view. The movie makes Beowulf to be a negative view on Christians. The theme good vs. evil has always been a great way to tell a story and it will continue to be centuries from now.
Most modern movies and books are themed about good and evil, for example The Dark Knight, Iron Man and Lord of the Rings. It has always been a way to tell stories because people will always love the battles and love to know who comes out on top. It is also a very easy theme to apply to a movie or a novel. Making movies from books can change the plot of the story as seen in Beowulf. One difference is that the plot and meaning behind the books is usually left out. However, people in society have loved this idea because they don’t have to read the book and it is not as time-consuming as reading an entire novel.