The Story Of Good Vs. Evil Essay

The Story Of Good Vs. Evil Essay

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The story of good vs. evil is one that dates back to the beginning of time itself. In the epic Beowulf this is no different; the forces of good and evil are in constant conflict with each other. Beowulf, the good hero, is “praised over and over again” for his glorious and continued victories over the forces of evil (Heaney: Celebration at Heorot: 131). On the other hand, the evil characters, such as Grendel and Grendel’s mother, are not only “malignant by nature”, but also constantly terrorize the citizens near them, defiantly rebelling against the forces of good. (Heaney: Heorot Is Attacked :131). Grendel is a demon, the descendant of the cursed Cain from Biblical times, is seen as the embodiment of evil, and none but Beowulf can overpower him. While Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon all represent evil and the demonic, characters such as Beowulf and Wiglaf represent good in the story, showing that good will prevail over the forces of evil, even if significant loss must be sustained.
A character in literature can be good in many different ways. Hector from The Iliad is good because he is the strongest warrior in the Trojan army, and because the “Trojans [honor him] as a god”, a sign of his power and goodness (Homer: Book XXII: 309). He is also loyal to his family, fighting only to protect those he loves, and dying a noble death on the battlefield to one of the fiercest warriors in history. Wiglaf is good because of his bravery in the face of danger, and because of his undying loyalty to Beowulf. Beowulf, on the other hand, is good in the sense that he fights against the forces of evil, and because he prevails over demons and dragons alike. He has otherworldly strength, and when fighting Grendel, he grips him “harder than a...

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...ips, but their hearts are far from me (NIV). This verse describes Ser Ciappelletto perfectly, because with his mouth he declares himself saintly, but his heart could not be farther away from God. This man was the “greatest blasphemer of God and the saints”, yet was canonized as a saint in an ironic twist at the end of the story (Boccaccio: Day 1 Story 1: 611). This satire damages the reputation of the Catholic Church, and it exposes the clergy for their lack of intuition and skepticism. Ironically, this man is looked upon with awe and wonder at the end of his life, when he just as easily could have been tossed in a “garbage pit like a dog” for his foul behavior (Boccaccio: Day 1 Story 1: 612). This story teaches the reader to verify information before accepting it as true, and exposes the errors of the Catholic Church through comedy and the clever wit of the author.

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