The Battles Amongst Beowulf
In the Old English poem Beowulf, the interpretation of monsters is revealed by the relation between the hero Beowulf and the monsters Grendel, Grendel’s mother and the dragon. These strange creatures including the humanoid monster Grendel and his mother and the fire-breathing dragon whose breath bursts from the rock’ (l. 2557) commit catastrophic acts towards human. Yet, each of the monsters possess their own reasons regarding to their evil deeds. Whereas, Grendel is displeasured with the peoples of the Danes having excessive amount of entertainment in their mead hall, Heorot; Grendel’s mother seeks revenge for Grendel’s dismemberment and death; and stolen treasures wreak the sleeping Dragon’s anger.
The battles amongst Beowulf who fights with no weapon’ (l. 683) and grants glory of victory’ (l. 686) through battle and the monsters demonstrate the characteristics of the monsters. The sparking points and manners of the fights are compelling differ from orderly battles; consequently, at once people take battles as part of life, which war is politically essential and gain glory from it. However, it implies to be dreadful when monsters commit such acts. Thus, these semi-human creatures and the Dragon are worthy to be determined.
How it works
Firstly, Grendel is an isolated human-like creature who lives in a glum underwater lair. According to Symons, Grendel is an allusion of social exclusion and isolation’; he is fatherless’ (l. 1355). It is obvious that Grendel has no father, as the humans would be introduced as the son of someone’. He is also illustrated to be a humanoid monster, with eyes that blaze baleful light’ and his body is warped in the shape of man’ and bigger than any man’ (l. 1352-1353). It is revealed that Grendel is an unnatural creature compared to humans with his body which takes four to hoist his head on a spear’. Moreover, he is shown to be a loner who lives alone and prefers stillness. The loud banquet’ within Heorot would harrow him’ (l. 87) which settle the feud concerning the Danes and roots the fight between Beowulf and Grendel. In light with Delahoyde, a doppleganger effect’ is used to indicate the contrast amongst Beowulf and Grendel, confusing pronouns’ such as he’ and his’ are used repeatedly. Thus, there is a noteworthy distinction shown that Grendel should not be well qualified to be a respectable warrior in the Anglo-Saxon period; in contrast to Beowulf, who takes great glory in slaying his enemy with bare hands, whilst Grendel is unarmed too. However, Beowulf is considered to be honourable even though he pretends to be asleep when Grendel arrives the Heorot on his own and eats up one of the Danes’ warriors. It is shown that negative connotations are used to designate Grendel’s character as destructive and filled with deprivation towards human.
Secondly, Grendel’s mother is a female monster’ who desires to seek revenge for her kinsman’s death’ (l. 1340). She is portrayed as a lament character whose son is murdered which allured her ambition circuitously. Although, Grendel’s mother appears to be alike with Grendel except that she looks like a woman’ (l.1351), nonetheless, it is illustrated that she is masculine too. Since the whole of Grendel’s shoulder and arm’ (l. 835) is cut off and displays high up near to roof’ (l.834) in the Heorot; Grendel’s mother correspondingly snatches Hrothgar’s right-hand man’, Aeschere’s life. Parallelism is used to enhance the implication of Grendel’s mother ambitious vengeance. She pleas a blood feud and her attack to the Danes is vary from Grendel’s, her intention is recognizable, which is to only commit an act analogous to Beowulf does to Grendel towards Hrothgar. She would yearn the Danes to have the same affliction as she does; therefore, it is reasonable that she runs off home right after she gets Grendel’s arm. In accordance with Delahoyde, Grendel’s mother is a conflicting figure of women in the Anglo-Saxon culture; by cause of her attitude towards malice. It is suggestive that Grendel’s mother is an extraordinary monster, who shows masculinity being a female character and evilness but not as vicious as Grendel.
Lastly, the Dragon is set to be a contrasting character of Beowulf. It is the most predictable monster which Beowulf encounters and symbolises greed and the corrupted side of kinship’. Beowulf is in his eighties when he attacks the Dragon, he is the ring-giver’ (l. 2635) who the Geats respect. In contrast to the Dragon, who guards his hoard endlessly and hide the treasure for nothing; Beowulf is demonstrated to be a decent king who would distribute treasures bagged from battles. Hence, the Dragon is explained to act miserly in order indicate the difference between a good king and a bad king, so as to enrich Beowulf’s merit. Furthermore, Beowulf as a responsible king, he does his last feat to defeat the Dragon aids by a loyal warrior of his, Wiglaf’s decorated sword sank into the Dragon’s belly and the flames grew weaker’. Therefore, the arise of the Dragon is a momentous plot in Beowulf, for the purpose of denoting Beowulf’s exceptional deeds.
In conclusion, monsters in Beowulf play major parts in several circumstances. Moreover, each of the monster and its acts are paralleled to Beowulf’s, as well as to reflect on the characteristic of Beowulf. Grendel, the most vicious one, is a humanoid monster whom Beowulf killed, has huge dissimilarities with Beowulf and highlights Beowulf to be a good warrior. Besides, Grendel’s mother demonstrates an opposite character of Anglo-Saxon women, whose masculinity is much sturdier than femininity. Features of Grendel and his mother show enormous contrast from Anglo-Saxon cultures, respectively, of typical warriors and women of that period of time; likewise, they carry resentment towards humans and commit malignant acts. Lastly, a monster-like dragon takes part to emphasize Beowulf is a virtuous king after years being a great warrior. It is proposed that these evil creatures contrast with Beowulf in different stages, as well as to reflect Beowulf’s life. They are essential characters in the poem, since their immoralities are used effectively to portray Beowulf as a decent human.