Characteristic of evil based on Beowulf
?Characteristics of evil In the Anglo Saxon poem, Beowulf, Hrothgar’s Kingdom is attacked by a monster who is killing many villagers. King Hrothgar, desperate for a solution, seeks help in another kingdom and Beowulf comes. In the story, the conflicts between good and evil are the main aspect. It shows how good and evil are opposite forces, or traits, that live inside of humans. Evil is defined as being profoundly immoral and malevolent. It is shown through the battles and is represented by Grendel and his family. Grendel is a monster that lives in a dark swampland.
He comes “out from the marsh, from the foot of misty hills and bogs” (line 2). Only with his habitat description, the reader assumes he is an evil character. Later on, when described as “god’s hatred” (line 3), the reader knows for sure that this evil force is so mean that even the one person that can love unconditionally hates him. Grendel is a monster full of resentment, angry and fierce. His “eyes gleamed in the darkness” (line 17), “his mind was hot” (line 23), he had “swift hard claws” ( line 29) and “powerful jaws” (line 32). His skin couldn’t be scratched and he “bewitched all spells” (line 93).
His physical description shows a horrid being with a supernatural anatomy. Grendel, not only had a disgusting appearance but an evil soul. “Grendel came hoping to kill” (line 4), and showing his hatred for humans. It is a clear example of his evil actions. How dark a soul and mind must be to kill without regret, just pure pleasure. It shows his insensitive and cruel character. When Beowulf defeats Grendel, the kingdom celebrated nonstop, “they gaped with no sense of sorrow, felt no regret for his suffering” (line 132). For a whole kingdom to celebrate without compassion, it means that Herot was tormented by Grendel for years.
They truly hated Grendel. After Grendel’s death, his mom appears ready to avenge him. Grendel’s mom was “ the greedy she wolf who’d ruled those waters for half a hundred years” (line 184). Evil forces live in secret places, “where no one knows its bottom, no wisdom reaches such depths” ( line 162). Places so terrifying, that a deer “prefers to die on those shores, refuses to save its life in that water” (line 165- 168). When Beowulf confronts Grendel’s mother, “she welcomed him in her claws” (line 187) and “no sword could slice her evil skin” ( line 209). Beowulf have to use a magic sword in order to kill her.
The use of a magic sword demonstrate the power an evil force has and their extraordinary conditions. Finally, the last example of an evil force is the dragon. The dragon appears in the last battle between good and evil in the poem. He was like a fiery flame; a “serpent that looped and unleashed itself” (pg. 35). When described as a serpent, the reader understands the evil nature of the monster. In the Catholic religion, the bible describes the serpent as the reincarnation of evil. A serpent stands for the devil itself. The flames also stand for evil because demons are always linked to hot places.
In the catholic religion, Satan also looks like a fiery flame and hell is ablaze. Beowulf describes all of evil traits. Throughout the poem, the reader notices that all the monsters, or evil forces, have characteristics in common. They all live in dark and spooky places, where humankind can’t reach. Monsters are rejected by society and their appearance is horrid. All of them have really obscure thoughts. They are cruel and insensitive. Finally, they are linked with magic. Their bodies are supernatural or possess an extraordinary ability. Evil is always related to hell and destined to fight goodness.