Definitions of Evil; Paradise Lost, “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, Lord of the Flies, and Beowulf
The topic of evil is discussed in multiple ways within the stories of Beowulf, Paradise Lost, Lord of the Flies, and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. These writers’ opinions on evil vary. Evil is portrayed in many different ways. Is evil a choice that is made by an individual? Or is it merely a concept that humans have no control over? Although these writers may disagree on who will be defeated in the battle between good and evil and whether evil lives within every man, they agree on the concept that evil always brings negative consequences.
Samuel Coleridge, the writer of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, John Milton, the writer of Paradise Lost, and the author of Beowulf both agree that evil will ultimately be defeated by goodness. In Beowulf, evil is defeated with the slaughtering of Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the Dragon. His people realize the great deed that Beowulf has done for them and were thankful that their town was freed of evil: “They extolled his heroic nature and exploits and gave thanks for his greatness.” John Milton and Samuel Coleridge support the idea that good always defeated evil and they express this in “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and Paradise Lost. In “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, after killing an albatross, the mariner’s ship is repeatedly faced with difficult circumstances. After unwillingly winning the battle between life and death, he comes to understand that evil exists so people can know the forgiveness of God, although consequences will be present. “I shot the Albatross….but no sweet bird did follow, not any day for food or play came to the Mariner’s hello!” (779). In Paradise Lost, good is ultimately defeated in that God defeats Satan who theoretically was the first to introduce sin into the world. Regardless of all of the misfortunes that the characters faced, the consequences of evil choices, good will...
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