Beowulf Good vs Evil
Struggle Between Good and Evil Beowulf is one of the oldest existing Anglo-Saxon epic poems in the English Literature and can be dated back to 700 A. D by an unknown poet. Many events in Beowulf are somewhat or directly related to the bible. One of the main surrounding themes of Beowulf is the struggle battle between good and evil. According to the poem, when looking at “good”, one and the only character that really represents this is the epic hero, Beowulf. On the other hand, “evil” refers to the “monsters” that Beowulf had fought. Thus, there are biblical evidences that are related to the theme of good and evil.
Hrothgar can be seen as a symbol of good in this epic. He is a mentor and a father figure to young Beowulf. He seeks protection for his people. “there was no laying blame on their lord, the noble Hrothgar; he was a good king” (861-862) This shows the goodness, and kindness quality of Hrothgar and that he will always be remember as a great king who wants the best for his people. Relating to the bible, Hrothgar can be seen as Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus. Although there is not much information about the relationship between Joseph and Jesus, it was told that Joseph trained Jesus as a carpenter.
Joseph is a devout follower of the customs of his religion. Thus, there are evidences that link the two together. The young Beowulf traveled to Danes to help King Hrothgar defend his kingdom by defeating Grendel, a horrible demon who lives in the swamplands of Hrothgar’s kingdom. There are many debates on why Beowulf chooses to fight Grendel without armor and weapons. Some people interpreted Beowulf as over-confident and careless, however according to the bible, this can be related to Jesus. Jesus can heal people with his hands, thus Beowulf can end evil force with his hands.
Consequently, this symbolizes a form of purity in both of the context. Once he defeats Grendel’s mother, the swamp is illuminated more thoroughly, “A light appeared and the place brightened/ the way the sky does when heaven’s candle/ is shining clearly” (2222) This light implied to the Christian holiness and salvation, suggesting that hell has been purged of its evil and sanctity restored. Additionally this portrayed Beowulf as Jesus’ resurrection and transition of age, becoming a wiser man. Furthermore, this is a foreshadowing of an event where Beowulf will receive words of advice from Hrothgar of becoming a great man and a great ruler.
In the eyes of the Danes, Beowulf can easily be seen as a messiah, who have came rescue them from the monsters. The character of Beowulf evolves into a more mature character, and most importantly he follows the Germanic heroic code of loyalty, courtesy and pride. When offers with kingship, Beowulf gently decline and support the prince until he is old enough to become a king. Unfortunately that did not last long, and Beowulf will face his last inevitable battle with the dragon. On the quest to the dragon, Beowulf traveled with 12 thanes, similarly as Jesus and the 12 disciples.
The monsters or evil in this epic refer to an anthropomorphic form or in Christian medieval culture which “monsters” mean birth defects. In this epic Poem, Beowulf must fight three monsters which represents an inhuman or alien presence in society that must be eliminate to keep safety within the society. These monsters existed beyond the boundaries of human realms. Monsters and evil strike at night time, where night and dark represent a time where light is overcome by darkness. The ultimate battle with the dragon is the last battle in this epic. In many ways, this last battle can be directly related to the book of revelation.
The dragon mentioned in the revelation represents Satan. Further more, this dragon symbolizes the idea of wyrd or fate. According to the book of revelation, when the Satan is killed so will the king. One of the most controversial parts of this poem is when Beowulf chose treasure over a leader. Beowulf knows that this fight is inevitable and to foresee that this will never end, he decided that its time to let the faith takes his life away. He is old and do not know how long he will be able to use his power to keep the evil, away from his people.
Thus, he took the risk of his life, not only he succeeds in acquiring the treasure for people but he also found the new rightful leader for his people. This revelation will mark a new beginning for both good and evil and the never ending fight between good and evil will continue. Good vs. evil will continue to fight endlessly. New villain will emerge and new hero will be told. This struggle between good and evil will never end; we will never know which side will conquer this universe. As long as there light, there will be always be darkness. This is just another never-ending cycle of this universe.