Essay on Beowulf, Grendel, And The Dragon

Essay on Beowulf, Grendel, And The Dragon

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Throughout the Old English poem Beowulf, Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon were better known as the antagonists/monsters. The saying is “beauty is only skin-deep”, but in this case, it was more than their appearances that confirmed the definition of their behaviors. Much has been written on the roles, functions, descriptions, and underlying motivations and sources of the "monsters" presented in Beowulf. With a brief overview of the three, readers will be able to identify the nature of the monsters in the poem and compare their characteristics to the narrative.
The first monster that Beowulf battled was Grendel. He was presented as a coward and an insensitive beast. He was also referred to as "spawned in that slime” that was born into exile. With this, he was compared to biblical character Cain, “Till the monster stirred, that demon, that fiend/Grendel who haunted the moors, the wild/Marshes, and made his home in a hell./Not hell but hell on earth. He was spawned in that slime/Of Cain, murderous creatures banished/ By God, punished forever for the crime/ Of Abel 's death." (26). Despite Grendel’s evil motives, he is determined to be the best and overcome any obstacle that interfered with what he wanted to conquer. Grendel was large in size and maintained strength of many. However, he was a coward. Grendel is shown as somewhat of a coward because he only attacked at night when the guards of the mead hall were asleep to avoid any form of physical manipulation. One night, he saw sleeping soldiers in the hall, which meant for him, it was his time to act. He grabbed a soldier near him and tore him to pieces with claws and teeth stuffing the dead man down in mouthfuls. When he went for another soldier, another hand met his, and i...


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...ith that, the dragon took a chunk of his opponent’s neck which caused blood to flow tremendously. That did not stop old Beowulf because he took a knife he found to the dragon’s flank that was fatal. Good kings shared their treasures with the people, and dragons hoarded them. Just as the dead warriors could not use the treasure, neither could the dragon, but he devoted his life to guarding a treasure that he has no use for. The dragon was the poem’s most powerful symbol, symbolizing the idea of fate that instilled the story with an atmosphere of doom and death. While Beowulf was basically untouchable when it came to both Grendel and his mother, he was more so in danger from the beginning against the dragon. While Beowulf felt his own death approaching, the dragon emerged from the earth, creating the feeling that the unavoidable clash wouldl result in Beowulf’s death.

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