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Difference Between Grendel and Hrothgar's Warriors

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Difference Between Grendel and Hrothgar's Warriors

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  • December 2006
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In the opening of Beowulf, a difference is seen between two characters, Hrothgar's warriors and Grendel. Hrothgar's warriors are loyal to their leader and are vow to fight boldly to the death for Hrothgar. Grendel is a demon descended from the biblical Cain, the oldest son of Adam and Eve who killed his brother Abel. That difference is sound. The speaker uses sound to describe the disparity of the two characters: "A powerful monster, living down / In the darkness, growled in pain, impatient / As day after day the music rang / Loud in that hall, the harp's rejoicing / Call and the poet's clear songs" (1-5). Grendel is annoyed with the music and the poetry; so he growl in pain impatiently. The growling is a communication tool that is primitive and is also a disorganized sound. In contrast, the harp is a musical instrument that is an organized sound that plays a pleasant music and is also a sense of being civilized. Furthermore, the setting is also a difference. Ruling as king, Hrothgar decided to construct a monument for his success-a great hall called Herot. Herot is a famous hall, filled with song and treasure. The poet sings of it first creation: "Recalling / The Almighty making the earth, shaping / These beautiful plains marked off by oceans, / Then proudly setting the sun and moon / …Of the nations who now move on its face" (6-13). Herot functions as both a symbol and setting. Symbolically, it represents the achievements of Hrothgar and the level of human civilization. Herot is a place of light and warmth in the dark, cold winters. The hall is a place of community, where traditions are preserved, loyalty is rewarded, and stories are told. Nonetheless, Grendel does not live in luxury as the Danes. "Grendel, who haunted the moors, the wild / Marshes, and made his home in a hell / Not hell but earth. He was spawned in that slime," (17-19). The lair where Grendel hides from the world is symbolic of his live as outcast. Hidden beneath a dark, forbidding swamp, the...

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