The Epic Of Grendel's Metaphamental Monsters In Beowulf

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Beowulf’s Metaphorical Monsters
Beowulf outlines turmoil between three opponents: Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the Dragon. These separate discords each serve to fulfill different metaphoric purposes. Grendel’s character epitomizes the adverse persona of how an Anglo-Saxon warrior should not be. His mother represents everything that a woman during the time era should seldom be. Lastly, the Dragon embodies all the values that an Anglo-Saxon king should not dare retain. Without a doubt, the symbolic implications of the monsters in Beowulf bring the context to a new level of understanding.
Grendel represents everything that an Anglo-Saxon warrior should not be. As he is introduced into the story, he is characterized by having, “…no idea of the …show more content…

While Grendel may possess a brute strength, his lack of wit and logic is what ultimately leads to his downfall and demise. In Beowulf, the actions and character that of Beowulf, or an Epic Hero, define the perfect Anglo-Saxon warrior. Epic heroes are indicated by a variety of traits, including that they, “must look like a hero, they must be noble, famous, strong, courageous, humble, prideful, thick-skinned, self-sacrificing, faithful, focused, be a leader, and have a tragic flaw” (Jones 3). Unfortunately, aside from the ‘tragic flaw’ and ‘strong’ categories, Grendel’s character is antithetical to all characteristics of an Epic Hero. This makes him quite the villain, and a generally despicable character. “Suddenly then, / the God-cursed brute creating havoc: / greedy and grim, he grabbed thirty men” …show more content…

“A peace-weaver was a woman who would be married to a person from an enemy tribe in the hopes of ending a feud” (Yewdaev). The role of women in Anglo-Saxon culture was simple: to settle arguments through arranged marriage. However, Grendel’s mother did not follow similar principles. Instead of arriving at the mead hall ready to make amends and to settle Grendel’s dispute, she returns bloodthirsty and yearning for revenge. Another part that women in the Anglo-Saxon period undertook was that of a cupbearer. “So the Helming woman went on her rounds, / queenly and dignified, decked out in rings, / offering the goblet to all ranks, / treating the household” (Heaney 620-623). Cupbearers served the purpose of passing around cups of mead around to the men until they were all drunk and merry. Grendel’s mother’s independence and lack of subordination to men in the culture epitomizes the contrast she faces with other women in the era. Her attack is surprisingly more impactful than all of Grendel’s together, even though she only delivers a single fatality. Rather than taking out a random drunk guard, she goes straight for Hrothgar’s favorite advisor. “To Hrothgar, this man was the most beloved/ of the friends he trusted between the two seas” (1296-1297). Evidently, coincidence or not, her attack on his advisor was immensely powerful, and contradicts the passive,

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