Literary Analysis Beowulf

Literary Analysis Beowulf

The battle between good and evil is one that has been going on almost as long as humans have walked the earth. In the epic poem Beowulf this longstanding battle between good and evil is present between Beowulf, the hero, and Greened, the monster from the moor. The extensive use of both kenning and alliterations in the poem assist in defining these roles of good and evil through Beowulf and Greened. Kenning provide a powerful description of these characters by exchanging banal adjectives or nouns with strong and direct compound words that seem to perfectly um up the character.

In the case of Greened, he is the monster that is terrorizing the Danes by killing their men and preventing anyone from entering the mead hall. He is described as, “mankind’s enemy’ (79) and “The shadow of death” (74). These descriptions dwell into the true evil that Greened represents; he is described as being from this hellish place beneath the moor, and is said to be descended from Cain. As for Beowulf, he is the polar opposite of Greened, in that he travels a great distance, across oceans, in order to save the Danes from the monster.

Beowulf is known as, “that noble protector of all seamen” (578). He is noble and strong and is everything that embodies the warrior culture of his time. Beowulf single-handedly kills the monster that has been terrorizing the Danes, and does so with almost supernatural strength that is so common amongst epic heroes. Alliterations also play a very key role in describing the epic hero and villain of the poem. Alliterations use similar consonant sounds to emphasize a particular point about a certain character.

Greened is described as this lurking and deadly creature from the depths of the Earth. When Greened comes to the mead hall he comes, “Up from his swampland, sliding silently/ Toward that gold-shining hall. ” (239). The repetition of the “s” sound gives Greened almost this snake-like quality, in which he seems to be slithering around the mead hall always ready to strike. In the case of Beowulf, he is the brave hero and is described as such. In battle against the monster, “The ancient blade broke, bit into the monster’s skin, drew blood” (672).

The repetition of the “b” sounds gives Beowulf a bold and brave feeling about him as he slays the beast. The repetition of these consonant sounds is a very powerful way of describing and defining both roles between good and evil. The use of the literary devices of kenning and alliterations in Beowulf are very important in describing the characteristics of both the hero and villain. Not only are they important, but are also very powerful ways in which to convey this message.