Grendel's Mother's Attack Essay

Grendel's Mother's Attack Essay

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Grendel's Mother's Attack


In Beowulf, we see a number of elements throughout the poem. First, we see a pagan warrior society. In this society the relationship between a king and his thanes is key. It is a symbiotic relationship in which the thanes defend the king and his land and fight his wars. In return, the king provides for his men. He offers them such items as mailcoats, swords, helmets, gold rings, mead, beer, shelter and companionship. This society also places great value on kinship. If one's kin is killed, it is the remaining relative's duty to make the killer pay for the death, either with his own life or the payment of wergild (the "man price"). Finally, we see the recurrence of the pagan ideas of fate and courage. Men believe that fate controls their lives. Beowulf constantly tests fate and believes that through courage he can live on in the memory of those who will live after him.

In the section of the poem dealing with Grendel's Mother's attack, we see the warriors settling down to sleep in Heorot after the huge celebration of Beowulf's victory over Grendel. They seem unaware of the fact that Grendel has kin who may come to avenge his death. Grendel's mother appears on the scene, snatches a man away and hurries back to the mere. When it is discovered a man is dead, sorrow is renewed. There is no more joy at Heorot, now that the she-monster has sought "payment" for the death of her son. Yet since she and her son are monsters, the thanes feel little sympat...

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Grendel's Mother's Attack Essay

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