The epic poem, Beowulf, depicts the battles and victories of the Anglo-Saxon warrior Beowulf, over man-eating monsters. The noble defender, Beowulf, constantly fought monsters and beasts to rid the land of evil. The most significant of these monsters, Grendel, represents Beowulf's shadow, the Jungian archetype explored in the essay collection, Meeting the Shadow.
The character Grendel portrays the fallen self, which will assert itself violently if neglected, and must be overcome throughout life. The monster Grendel mirrors the part of our fallen state. Grendel's ancestry leads to the biblical figure Cain, to which all evil can be attributed. Grendel represents the hidden evil of Beowulf. Rollo May describes this in his metaphor "the dragon or the Sphinx in me will often be clamoring and will sometimes be expressed"(174). Grendel represents Beowulf's Sphinx, that lashes out on others.
The name Grendel can be roughly translated to mean "grinder," and "storm" (Raffel Burton 152). These terms come to life when he invades the Mead Hall. Grendel "Rushed angrily across the inlaid floor, snarling and fierce: his eyes gleamed in the darkness, burned with a gruesome light. Then he stopped, seeing the hall crowded with sleeping warriors, stuffed with rows of young soldiers resting together. And his heart laughed, he relished the sight, intended to tear the life from those bodies by morning"(46). Grendel and the other monsters that represent Beowulf shadow "project their own evil onto the world" (Peck 178). Grendel the "Shepherd of evil, guardian of crime" represents the inherent evil that the shadow embodies (Burton 46).
Beowulf fought off Grendel like we must fight...
... middle of paper ...
...be transformed into anger towards others and the denial of ones evil. The neglected shadow if not projected in another's direction, will surface in oneself to restore the imbalance personality. Evil presents us with a daily struggle between temptations and justice. Like Beowulf, we must battle the evils of our shadow until it has been recognized and defeated.
Bly, Robert. "The Long Bag We Drag Behind Us."Meeting the Shadow. Ed Connie Zwieg and Jeremiah Abrams. Los Angeles: Jeremy Teacher, Inc. 1991.
May, Rollo. "The Dangers of Innocence." Meeting the Shadow. Ed Connie Zwieg and Jeremiah Abrams. Los Angeles: Jeremy Teacher, Inc. 1991.
Peck, Scott, M. "Healing Human Evil." Meeting the Shadow. Ed Connie Zwieg and Jeremiah Abrams. Los Angeles: Jeremy Teacher, Inc. 1991.
Raffel, Burton, trns. Beowulf. New York: Penguin, 1963
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- A Jungian Reading of Beowulf This essay will propose an alternative means by which to examine the distinctive fusion of historical, mythological, and poetic elements that make up the whole of Beowulf. Jeffrey Helterman, in a 1968 essay, “Beowulf: The Archetype Enters History,” first recognized Grendel as a representation of the Shadow archetype and identified Grendel’s mother as an archetypal Anima image; I wish to extend the scope of the reading by suggesting that the dragon, too, represents an archetype: the archetype of the Self. John Miles Foley, in his landmark 1977 essay “Beowulf and the Psychohistory of Anglo-Saxon Culture,” first suggested that the progression of battles betw... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]
1635 words (4.7 pages)
- In the poem, Beowulf, by an unknown poet, as translated by Seamus Heaney, we see many monstrous behaviors. A few of the examples stand out more than the rest: wanton destruction, a woman acting as a man, and the act of killing one’s kin. Wanton destruction goes against the ideals that governed the Anglo-Saxon culture. The warrior kings had duties to uphold. We see that they revered kings who would bring protection and give freely to the young and old and not cause harm. One good illustration of this is the nature in which King Hrothgar dispensed his wealth, he dispensed it to the needy and he didn’t give away “the common land or the people’s lives” (71-73).... [tags: beowulf]
1057 words (3 pages)
- Beowulf is the conventional title of an Old English epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature due to the fact that it is the oldest surviving epic poem of Old English and also the earliest vernacular English literature. Tragedy and epic have been much discussed as separate genres, but critics have not hesitated to designate certain characters and events in epics as tragic. For the most part, they have assumed or asserted an identity between epic and dramatic tragedy.... [tags: Old English, Poem, Scandinavia]
1330 words (3.8 pages)
- Social Codes in Beowulf In reading Beowulf, one cannot help noticing the abundance of references to weapons and armor throughout the text. Many passages involving weapons and armor contain important messages that the author is trying to convey. These passages involve the choice to use or refrain from using arms, the practice of disarming oneself upon entering another's home, and the idea of a man's worth being measured by his weapons.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]
902 words (2.6 pages)
- Anticipation of catastrophe, doom, gloom are present in Beowulf rom beginning to end, even in the better half of the poem, Part I. Perhaps this is part of what makes it an elegy – the repeated injection of sorrow and lamentation into every episode. In his essay, “The Pessimism of Many Germanic Stories,” A. Kent Hieatt says of the poem Beowulf: The ethical life of the poem, then, depends upon the propositions that evil. . . that is part of this life is too much for the preeminent man. . . . that after all our efforts doom is there for all of us” (48).... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]
2836 words (8.1 pages)
- The Theme of Beowulf Interpretations of Beowulf vary. In this essay I hope to state clearly some of the popularly mentioned themes running through the poem. “Many critics feel that the speech of Hrothgar between lines 1700 and 1784 encapsulates the moral of the poem….’He does not know the worse – till inside him great arrogance grows and spreads’” (Shippey 38). Hrothgar’s ominous words do come back to haunt the hero more than once. Beowulf is a braggart; he is proud, and nothing seems able to change his basic proud outlook derived from his all-powerful physical strength.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]
982 words (2.8 pages)
- Beowulf – a Christian-Pagan Poem In Beowulf the pagan aspect is revealed through many passages and many heathen rites or customs in which the form of expression or the thought suggests pagan usage or beliefs. The Christian aspect is revealed through 68 passages in which the form of expression or the thought suggests Christian usage or doctrine (Blackburn 3). The Christian element seems to be too deeply imbedded in the text of Beowulf for us to conclude that it is due to additions made by scribes at a time when the poem had come to be written down.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]
3471 words (9.9 pages)
- Beowulf is an epic poem. Why. Because (1) it is a long narrative work that relates the adventures of a great hero and (2) it reflects the values of the Anglo-Saxon society in which it was written prior to 1000AD. This Old English poem in unrhymed, four-beat alliterative style narrates, through the course of about 3200 verses, the bold killing of two monsters, Grendel and his Mother, and a fire-dragon, as well as numerous other brave deeds in lesser detail, by Beowulf, “the strongest of men alive in that day, mighty and noble,” “the good Geat.” Roberta Frank in “The Beowulf Poet’s Sense of History” sees the hero as “the synthesis of religious and heroic idealism” (Frank 59).... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]
2243 words (6.4 pages)
- Digressions in Beowulf A prominent stylistic feature in the poem Beowulf is the number and length of digressions. “Much of the controversy surrounding the poet’s digressiveness has arisen from the fact that we have not yet discovered or admitted why he digresses in the first place” (Tripp 63). In this essay we hope to help answer that question. The longest digression, almost 100 verses, is the story of Finn, which is here explored. In “The Finn Episode and Revenge in Beowulf” Martin Camargo states: The allusive manner of its telling has long taxed the abilities of philologists to determine the precise sense of the lines, while its position within the narrative... [tags: Epic Beowulf essays]
1974 words (5.6 pages)
- Beowulf Beowulf is the main character in the poem, Beowulf. He is a member of the Geat tribe, a follower of Higylac, and the son of Edgtheo. In the poem, the author attempts to reconcile the human and the heroic sides of his personality. Beowulf's deeds and actions toward others reflect his heroic personality. He is described as "…greater/And stronger than anyone anywhere in this world," although there is no information as to how he has received this reputation. We learn about the main character more through the eyes of the Danish soldier patrolling the cliffs.... [tags: Poem Poet Beowulf Essays]
895 words (2.6 pages)