Violence in Beowulf

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Violence in Beowulf
Beowulf is an epic poem written in Anglo-Saxon times, by an unknown poet. Beowulf is a Geatish man who rescues the Danish people from evil, and helps save his own country from destruction. Beowulf, renowned for his bravery, and known as the strongest man alive, acquires the help of fourteen thanes to sail with him to Denmark. There he is involved in two battles with two evil monsters. He then fights another battle in his homeland with a Fire dragon. Without violence in Beowulf, heroism would be impossible as evidenced by Beowulf’s battles with Grendel, his mother, and the Fire dragon. Beowulf first shows his heroic nature in the fight with Grendel. After all the men in the great hall of Heorot fall asleep, Beowulf waits for his enemy, Grendel, to come for his feast of Danish warriors. After Grendel devours one of the warriors, he makes a wrong move and grabs for Beowulf. As soon as Beowulf grips Grendel’s hand, Grendel knows he has not met anyone with the strength of Beowulf. Beowulf shows how he is a hero by deciding not to use weapons against the monster.

Violence is a way of life in the Scandinavian warrior culture of Beowulf. When your hero's goal is to kill a local demon that’s been attacking people and carrying off corpses by the dozen, you're going to get a certain amount of circumstantial violence. In Beowulf, battle is not only bloody, it's gory and grimy and sweaty and sinews are tearing apart. Corpses don't just burn on funeral pyres; the fluids and gases ooze and bubble out of the bodies as they're burning. People don't just wrestle; they tear each other's arms out of their sockets and so on.

Grendel isn't only a violent murderer. He's also a greedy killer, someone who takes the lives of thirty men at one stroke even though he can't pay reparations for their deaths and there seems little reason for him to lash out in this way. Even though the world of the Danes and Geats is a brutal medieval battlefield, Grendel's violence...
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