Frankenstein vs. Beowulf

Topics: Nature versus nurture, Beowulf, Oxford English Dictionary, Human nature, Frankenstein, Heorot / Pages: 8 (1949 words) / Published: Nov 11th, 2011
Frankenstein vs. Beowulf Oxford dictionary defines monster as, “Originally: a mythical creature which is part animal and part human, or combines elements of two or more animal forms, and is frequently of great size and ferocious appearance. Later, more generally: any imaginary creature that is large, ugly, and frightening. (Oxford English Dictionary)” This definition is basic in nature. What must be added is whether it is nature that makes the monster what it is or is it nurture that makes it what it is. In both Beowulf and Frankenstein the monster complex engages, complicates and has an effect on us. Beowulf has to battle Grendel, his mom, and the dragon to do his duty as a warrior, but the monsters only make it more difficult to tell who is being a monster and who is being a human. In Frankenstein, a monster is created and another one discovered. But, in both readings the monster and humans nature are blurred, the line in which you are either creature or human gets fuzzy. In Beowulf, Grendel is defined as a monster, “Grendel was the name of this grim demon haunting the marches, marauding round the heath and the desolate fens.(Beowulf, 102-105)” Words like demon, and prowler let us know what the people think of him. When one reads the lines they imagine a lurker, an unwelcomed thing. Grendel, attacks the Mead Hall that Hrothgar builds out of jealousy and loneliness. When Beowulf is asked by Hrothgar to kill Grendel, he doesn’t say yes, because he feels like he owes him something. He says yes so he can gain from beating Grendel, he wants the pride. Now, when Beowulf kills Grendel he himself is not acting under the heroic code. Under the code set by society, Hrothgar should be the one responsible for killing the monster, because he is king and he should be brave enough to kill his own demons, after all it is his Mead hall and his men are being attacked. When Grendel is defeated by Beowulf his mom comes after Herot. Under the heroic code she is acting legally.

Citations: Beowulf. New York, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1996. Print. "Monster." Oxford English Dictionary. Sept. 2009. Oxford University Press, Web. 17 Nov 2009. <>. Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. 3rd ed. 3 vols. New York, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1996. Print.

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