Symbolism Of ' Beowulf ' Essay

Symbolism Of ' Beowulf ' Essay

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Maliea Faison
Symbolism: Found Even in Monsters
Glory for one’s King, Glory for one’s ancestors, Glory for one’s tribe, Glory for one’s self. These are the noble qualities only certain epic knights condone. Throughout the oldest surviving epic poem, Beowulf an Anglo-Saxon piece of literature, the courageous warrior Beowulf, hero of the Geats, embodies these heroic characteristics as the defender gallantly volunteers to aid King Hrothgar defeating not one or two, but three heinous creatures with honor. In a different perception, each behemoth Beowulf conquers symbolizes more than just a facing a ghastly creature.
Beowulf, morally durable and audacious, first secures the Danes against a satanic being named Grendel. The battle between hero and fiend is an utter victory for Beowulf as he rips off the arm of the beast with his bare hands and leaves him to run home and soon perish. In the beginning, the author describes Grendel as a descendant of Cain, a biblical reference to infernal traits as the author portrays Grendel as a, “...grim demon / haunting the marches, marauding round the heath / and the desolate fens…” (Beowulf 102-103). Due to his appearance and actions, Grendel symbolizes pure evil and death. The previous quote explains how demonic and unruling Grendel is and how his only pleasure comes from the pain and hurt of the innocent. The reason why Beowulf is highly praised due to his conquering the devil in mere flesh is because that is exactly what Grendel is perceived as towards the readers, a demon of death who needed to be stop by someone beyond the normal human-beings limitations. Here, Beowulf proves to be the ‘supernatural being’ the Danes have prayed for. Beowulf’s next opponent is Grendel 's mother, a hellion of t...

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...Grendel’s battle with his mothers’ battle, readers see Beowulf struggled more with Grendel’s mother as his sword fails him as, “…the shinning blade / refused to bite”(1523-1524). In this fight scene, Grendel’s mother is not only representing a horrible creature, yet a horrible creature seeking for revenge. Because of this, Beowulf finds this battle more challenging as he must use a special sword. Lastly, before battling the heinous dragon, Beowulf tells the King of the Danes that he is prepared for death and is ready for whatever the fire-breather has in store. This battle is significantly harder than the two previous battles as Beowulf realizes his special sword is not working for him: “…the blade flashed and slashed yet the blow / was far less powerful than the hard-pressed king / had need of at that moment”(2578-2580). Beowulf is in shock as he now must face a

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