Beowulf Themes Essay
The themes are “Good vs. Evil”, “Revenge”, and “Personal Honor and Reputation”. These symbols depict the main concepts for Beowulf. Good vs. Evil is demonstrated through the bible reference of God and Cain, and The battle with Grendel. Revenge is portrayed throughout the poem from Grendel to his own mother. Personal Honor and Reputation is shown mainly through Beowulf. Putting these three themes together gives the reader the main idea and concept of the Epic Poem Beowulf.
Good vs. Evil is the main theme a reader will interpret in Beowulf. It is first recognized by the allusion from the bible the reference of God vs. Cain. “He (Grendel) was spawned in that slime,/ Of Cain, murderous creatures banished / By God, punished forever for the crime/ Of Abel’s death. ” (Littel, McDougal 40). God is of high power and alone God he is known as the Good in all. While Cain who had killed his own brother committed a crime and God punishes him. Cain is evil. In addition, Beowulf vs. Grendel is also Good vs. Evil.
In The Battle with Grendel Beowulf before had already told Hrothgar he would fight for him and kill Grendel. During battle it was not easy at first to harm Grendel “trying to open/ A path for his evil soul, but their points/ Could not hurt him,” (Little, McDougal 48). His evil “bewitched” mortal weapons. Until Beowulf came in and fought “The battle was over, Beowulf/ Had been granted new glory:” (Little, McDougal 49). Beowulf had earned victory and the good conquers the evil. Revenge is depicted by the evil characters in the poem, Grendel and his mother.
Grendel is introduced in the beginning “A powerful monster, living down/ In the darkness, growled in pain, impatient” (Little, McDougal 38). The description foreshadows Grendel’s actions. It states the monster is impatient regarding he can’t wait and is vengeful. After the battle with Grendel the story introduces Grendel’s mother. Grendel’s mother shows a parental instinct, “Grendel’s mother emerges, bent on revenge” (Little, McDougal 51) Beowulf killed Grendel and now Grendel’s mother seeks to avenge her son.
Revenge can easily kill a person. Personal Honor and reputation is mainly described with Beowulf, but also Wiglaf shows some part in honor. Beowulf goes to Herot and tells Hrothgar about his reputation “That I, alone and with the help of my men. ” (Little, McDougal 44) shows his honor of himself and his own men. In Beowulf’s Last Battle he his old and yet still fights for his own sake. Fighting with the dragon Bewoulf gets wounded and his men run away but one man Wiglaf. “As a good man must, what kinship should mean. His name was Wiglaf.
Wiglaf helps Beowulf defeat the dragon. He gives a long speech to the Geats with kind words. Honor comes with various aspects but mostly responsibility. The themes are shown in a number of ways. Good vs. Evil, Revenge, and Personal Honor and Reputation are all parts to making what is Beowulf. Good vs. Evil: Beowulf vs. Grendel, Revenge: Grendel and his mother, Personal Honor and Reputation: Beowulf and Wiglaf. The themes are important aspects to give the concept of Beowulf.