Archetypes in Beowulf

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Archetypes in Beowulf

By | May 2013
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Alexandra A.
Period 4
4/2/13
Archetype Essay
Good and Evil
In Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, the characters symbolize good and evil. There are many ways this can be deciphered. The symbolism showed in the text can be used to describe the theme of every scene. The main characters and sometimes even the setting can help in deciding what types of archetypes are shown in the text. It can be easily shown through; situational archetypes, symbolic archetypes, and character archetypes.

The situational archetypes shown in Beowulf would be the good versus evil. Grendel is more than a human, in the story he is portrayed as a horrific monstrous being.
“The God-cursed brute was creating havoc: Greedy and grim, he grabbed thirty men. From
their resting places and rushed to his lair, Flushed up and inflamed from the raid, Blundering
back with the butchered corpses.” ( Beowulf Line 20).
Beowulf is the hero of this epic poem. He is a superhuman being who lives to honor and protect those in need.
“In the grip of each hand. Now Holy God Has, in His Goodness, guided him here
To the West-Danes, to defend us from Grendel. This is my hope; and for his heroism I will recompense him with a rich treasure.” (Beowulf Line 380).
There are many symbolic archetypes in Beowulf, one of them would be the Heorot Castle. It contains all the good people within it. Grendel’s lair on the other hand would be symbolized as the evil archetype. The settings of each of these describe what kind of mood and vibe the area gives off. Grendel’s lair is described as an eerie murky setting. It gives a dark and unearthly feeling to the readers or listeners.

The Geats would be the companion archetypes. They are there to help Beowulf and his men in his great battles and journeys to save Hrothgar from whatever dangers they are faced with.The Geats are reliable companions when they don’t back out and help attack Grendel.

In conclusion, Beowulf has many...

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