Unwanted Qualities in a Monster

Topics: Grendel's mother, Beowulf, Jealousy Pages: 3 (975 words) Published: June 18, 2008
Unwanted Qualities from the Monsters
Epic poems and tales give valuable information on how people were to attempt to live. They also give information on what a good person was supposed to be. In Beowulf, the poem tells us about certain qualities that we should not have. A monster that Beowulf was to defeat represents each of these qualities. In the poem, there are three monsters. They each represent qualities that good humans should not have, while Beowulf can represent some of the qualities we should want. The first of the three monsters is Grendel. Grendel was an outcast in the Dane society. “He had dwelt for a time/ in misery among the banished.” (l. 104-105) He is a descendent of Cain, therefore expected to be evil. And when King Hrothgar had the mead-hall built, Grendel was unaware of it, and became jealous and envious when he found out. Grendel represents jealousy and envy. Because he will never become someone allowed in the mead-hall, something that can be seen as what he wants, the jealousy and envy have taken him over. He is described as being possibly having dragon like skin but he is also personified so much. This personification can be seen as the jealousy and envy taking over a person. When Beowulf does not kill Grendel directly but fatally rips his arm off, leaving him to die slowly, this slow death can be represented as how jealousy and envy can and will slowly kill a person in time. A good person should want to rid themselves of these qualities because the outcome would be like Grendel’s, a slow, painful death. Also, like Grendel, we see other monsters that represent unwanted qualities. The second of the three monsters is Grendel’s mother. After Grendel’s death, the Danes never thought about if Grendel had some family or friends who would avenge his death. In that society, avenging someone’s death would have been acceptable. Even Beowulf knew that avenging a death was acceptable when he said, “Wise sir, do not grieve. It is always better/ to...
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