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Grendel's Mother: Monster or Not? Essay examples

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In the poem “Beowulf,” Grendel’s mother, a monstrous creature, is one of the three antagonists Beowulf, the main character, fights against. The battle against Grendel’s mother appears to be the strangest of the three battles. The main reason for its strangeness is that Grendel’s mother is the mother of the monster Grendel, who was killed by Beowulf in the first battle. Another reason for its strangeness is that Grendel’s mother is the only female-type creature. An alternative reason for this strangeness in the battle is due to the fact that Grendel’s mother is not a true monster, aside from her physical form. Through the explanation of kinship, the understanding of the missing words from the original text, and the comparison of Grendel’s mother to other mothers in the poem, specifically Welthow and Hildeburh, it can be established that the intentions of Grendel’s mother are not monstrous even though she has the appearance of a monster.
Kinship is one of the many recurring themes in Beowulf. It is known that kinship establishes an important part of society because this theme is seen throughout the long poem. Kinship is defined as blood relatives. According to Lorraine Lancaster, in the Anglo-Saxon society, one is considered to be kin with someone even if they are fifth cousins. However, after they become sixth cousins, they are no longer kin. In Lancaster’s “Kinship in Anglo-Saxon Society –I,” readers become aware that one is very loyal to their kin. In this article, it is said that it is one’s duty to be loyal to their kin. Because of this loyalty, feuds commence. If a person is killed, it is only fair that the slaughterer is killed by a kin of the person who was killed, and so on. This sounds familiar because it is the main idea ...


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...cannot be called a monster. The translator of the version of Beowulf that was read was not very accurate because it failed to show that Grendel’s mother was a ‘Lady.’ Also, as stated before, translated versions of original texts are always recreated, which means that Grendel’s mother could actually be a queen-like figure instead of being depicted as a monster. Lastly, the intentions of Grendel’s mother were not used to harm anyone but because of her maternal role. She was in a situation similar to Hildeburh’s. Also, she did what she felt was right as a mother, just like Welthow did. The only reason Grendel’s mother can be identified as a monster is because she has a relation with the monstrous Cain, which she cannot be blamed for. All in all, Grendel’s mother had every right as a mother kill a Dane, which is not monstrous. Therefore, she cannot be called a monster.



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