13, September 2012
The vices society deals with today are not all that different from the vices they delt with in the past. In fact, the first known sin in literature can agreeably be found in the Bible. It was Cain’s jealousy and anger that caused him to take the life of his brother Abel. Approximately 4000-5000 years later in the first known work of written English, the Beowulf-poet demonstrates the seven deadly sins through the title character’s battles with the three monsters. Obesity and sloth-modes vices. The seven deadly sins are ; envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, and wrath. Although Beowulf can be read as a mere tale about an epic hero who defends the ancient world from monsters and dragons when read on allegorical level it could be argues that Beowulf’s battles with the ancient foes represents a persons struggles against the sins of wrath, greed, and envy.
At the beginning of the poem a monster called Grendel is angered by the merry sounds emanating from the Herot and becomes provoked to the point of leaving the marsh, where he lives, and attacking the Danes in their mead hall. His onslaught against Denmark continues for twelve winters until Beowulf sails from Geatland and kills the deadly beast. Reacting to the death of her son, Grendel’s mother emerges from her underwater lair and kills one of Hrothgar’s best friends. Before this emergence, the female monster had been spotted only in occasion, walking in the marshes with her son Grendel. Beowulf hangs around and kills her too, ridding Denmark of all its evil monsters that have terrorized the Danes for twelve winters. Having accomplished these heroic deeds, Beowulf returns to Geatland, where he rules as a king for fifty-years. All goes well in his kingdom until, toward the end of his reign, a dragon begins menacing Geatland. Beowulf defeats the mighty dragon, but loses his life in the process. In the poem Grendel could represent wrath. Grendel is under the wrath of God,...
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