Beowulf vs. Grendel

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Beowulf vs. Grendel

The author of Beowulf goes to lengths to show Grendel as evil and monstrous and Beowulf as brave and heroic. The events leading up to the fight made me understand that Grendel is cursed by God, portrays demonic qualities, in turn create a desire for our hero to prevail. This led me to believe that Grendel is on a personal vendetta to kill anyone who stays at Heorot and that Beowulf is the only man who can destroy him. Since Grendel is a descendant of Cain he is also cursed and banished from society.

Like Cain, it is possible he is so enraged that he cannot be a part of this group that his mission in life is to kill them all. “…it was widely understood that as long as God disallowed it, the fiend could not bear them to his shadow-bourne.”(pg. 1647, 705-7) Grendel continues to kill anyone who is part of society or the group at the mead hall. The author also points out that since Beowulf is a man, God will watch over him. In contrast, Grendel is some sort of evil creature and cursed by God. During the fight scene it is easy to envision Grendel as a creature rather than human.


When Grendel came to attack Heorot the doors flung open at his touch even though they were locked. He is shown as a hungry monster ready to devour his victims. Grendel is shown killing and eating the first guard he encountered. “…he grabbed and mauled a man on his bench, bit into his bone-lappings, bolted down his blood and gorged on him in lumps,…”(pg.1648, 740-) The descriptions make Grendel seem birdlike. Also, when he closes in on Beowulf and the author notes, “his talon was raised to attack Beowulf…”(pg. 1648, 745)

Grendel is shown as powerful but cowardice only attacking at night. This night would be much different since a man of superior power had come to rescue the city. Beowulf is not using weapons as a sign that he will fight the monster fairly. He is showing his bravery and strength through this heroic action. “No weapons, therefore, for either this night unarmed he shall face me if face me he dares.”(pg.1647, 68-5) The heated battle between the two ends when Beowulf tears Grendel’s arm off with his superhuman grip.

In conclusion, the author has created an excellent model of good versus evil. Grendel is connected to a line of murderers cursed by God. His demeanor is hellish and demonic. This allows the reader to relish in the thought of his death. Who better to do the impossible deed but our hero Beowulf who fatally kills the monster. He is our hero because he killed the enemy and saved the town.

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