Revenge By William Shakespeare 's Beowulf Essay example

Revenge By William Shakespeare 's Beowulf Essay example

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Revenge has been used in the same context throughout history. Hundreds of years ago people sought revenge for reasons similar to those of present time. The Oxford English Dictionary has recorded the continuance of the meaning of this term, revenge, as wanting to “repay” a person for their wrongful doings since as early as 1553. Many literal pieces from early time periods have used this word and adjusted it to be a core theme. For example, the early poem, Beowulf, highlights epic revengeful battles between the protagonist and antagonists. The author uses revenge as a motivating component to develop relatable plots and characterizations. The journey of how the protagonist, Beowulf, becomes a noble savoir begins with his battle against the descendant of Cain, Grendel. After his victory against Grendel, he abruptly has to battle the monster’s mother. He then encounters vengeance for a final time with a treacherous dragon. These three conflicts depict revenge as an element in Beowulf and allow the narrative to apply in today’s society because of the timeless yearning of revenge.
The descendant of Cain was helplessly born into desolation and sin from his ancestor’s wickedness. Cain killed his brother and was cursed with casting only evil elves, ogres, and phantoms. Grendel is one of them. He is described as “a fiend out of hell” who takes over the city of Heorot leaving the King, Hrothgar, helpless and desperate (100). He kills many of Hrothgar’s people for twelve continuous years because of how well they live. He mocks in their laughter and happiness that occur in his peripheral because “he was the Lord’s outcast” (169). He also despises their “insensibility to pain and human sorrow” (119-120). Readers can interpret his resentment as...


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...st seems analogous to that of Grendel’s mother because instead of seeking vengeance on only the culprit they both decide everyone should suffer, which eventually causes more bloodshed. This can still be interpreted today in the same sense it was written because revenge continues to act in an endless cycle.
Similarly to The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition, the narrative Beowulf describes revenge as a complex idea where people cause distress when distress is done to them. Readers can conclude that this idea has existed consistently over time because each of the murderous battles pertains to struggles that people still face hundreds of years later. Readers can also explore the context of revenge and understand revenge as a continuous concept that will always be relevant. Literal pieces like Beowulf will allow revenge to remain a questionable universal theme.  

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