In the epic “Beowulf,” there is a constant struggle between good and evil. This poem is an early example of the phrase, “Bad guys never win.” Examples of this theme include: God versus Cain, Beowulf versus Grendal, and Beowulf versus Grendal’s mother.
The first battle between God (good) and Cain (evil) is actually an allusion from the bible. This story of Cain is used to compare God’s feelings of Grendal, a descendant of Cain. The book states, “…Since Cain had killed his only / Brother, slain his father’s son / With an angry sword. God drove him off, / outlawed him…” (Beowulf, 1261 – 1264). Cain killed his brother because he was evil and God shunned and marked him for his evilness. God has the same feelings for Grendal.
Grendal is described as a vicious monster that is an offspring of everything evil. Grendal is so evil; God refuses to forgive Grendal and favors Beowulf’s pride over Grendal’s sins. In the battle between Beowulf and Grendal, God grants Beowulf overwhelming victory. The book states, “the Ruler of the heavens brought about a right issue, when once more he stood up with ease.” God can stand with ease because the beast he hates, Grendal, is dead.
Beowulf is a mighty, honorable hero who has super strength and the ego to match his strength. Beowulf defeats Grendal with his bare hands and then he forced to fight Grendal’s vengeful mother. Tired and torn, Beowulf, through his goodness, is able to vanquish Grendal’s mother. At the break of exhaustion, Beowulf grabs a monstrous sword and the book continues, “he struck furiously…the blade went straight through the doomed body.”
The epic poem Beowulf encompasses all aspects of a great tale. Beowulf, God, and Wiglaf represent good in the poem whereas; Grendal, his mother, and Cain portray the contrasting side of evil. Throughout the epic poem “Beowulf” there are many examples of good versus evil.