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Beowulf- Good and Evil

Beowulf- Good and Evil

The concepts of good and evil are major in Beowulf and are the basis on which the poem is founded. Typically, the poem shows that good and evil prevail as total opposites. It signifies the capacity to engage in good deeds selflessly to assist other people. It is evident that good does prevail, but evil can make this prevalence very challenging. The author has used the main characters to reveal and expound on the concepts of good and evil. Essentially, Beowulf and Hrothgar are good characters, while Grendel and Grendel’s Mother are evil characters.

Beowulf embodies goodness in the novel to a large extent. Beowulf offers to kill Grendel, the monster, in pursuit of glory and admiration (Loughman 23). He was an actual worrier, and for this reason, he was able to kill a dragon and two monsters. Accordingly, this exemplifies the epitome of good defeating evil. A notable aspect of Beowulf is that he does not fight people at any given point. The clashes and conflicts that take place amongst humans do not involve him candidly. He is a fighter of monsters, and this presents him as a humanity defender, thus strictly on the good side. I see Beowulf as strong, courageous, selfless, dependable, and a person who would do anything, even if it meant risking his life for the sake of his people.

Moreover, goodness is evident in Hrothgar. Notably, the King of Dane is depicted as intelligent and a good leader; thus, his people love him. Following his goodness, God protects Hrothgar while his men are murdered; thus, Grendel and his mother do not hurt him. I see Hrothgar as a very generous person. The reason for God safeguarding Hrothgar is that he is a great king, not forgetting the point that he displays fealty to God and charitably gives to his people. Typically, great actions, heroism, and courageous deeds are perceived as virtuous, but throughout the epic, gift-giving, and generosity are major goodness elements.

On the contrary, Grendel and his mother embody evil. Grendel is a “fiend out of hell” (Beowulf line 100) and a cursed Cain’s descendant. Typically, his ancestry alone depicts him as evil. He is presented as a Cain descendant who murdered Able, his brother. Due to this delinquency, Cain and his descendants were incessantly exiled from God’s company and goodness. As per the poem, Cain’s descendants turned out to be every kind of evil creature. Throughout the poem, he is portrayed as a human enemy, and he is jealous that people can enjoy life in the light while he is condemned to darkness and misery, which drives his attacks. Additionally, his deeds are also evil as he breaks into the Herot and murders warriors as they are sleeping. Creeping around the moors, Grendel snatches and eats humans, one at a time (Berzins 11). Even though Grendel’s mother has more comprehensible motives compared to her son, she does not fight justly. Typically, she snatches Hrothgar’s friend, ruins his body, and leaves his executed head on the shoreline. Additionally, her birth is deemed unnatural since her kind is already cursed even before her birth. Essentially, she is destined to hell even before her existence, thus portrayed as inherently evil.

In conclusion, the poem Beowulf portrays Beowulf and Hrothgar as good characters and Grendel and his mother as evil. Beowulf offers to kill Grendel to safeguard people at the risk of endangering his life. He is a fighter of monsters, which presents him as a humanity defender, thus strictly on the good side. Additionally, Hrothgar is depicted as intelligent and a very good leader; hence, his people adore him. Some of the explanations for God safeguarding him are that he is a great king, displays fealty to God, and charitably gives to his other individuals. When it comes to Grendel, his ancestry alone depicts him as evil. In the narration, he is portrayed as a human enemy, and he is jealous that people can enjoy life in the light while he is condemned to darkness and misery, which causes his attacks. Lastly, Grendel’s mother does not fight fairly and is portrayed as intrinsically evil.

Works Cited

Beowulf. An Anglo-Saxon epic poem: transl. from the Heyne-Socin text. Diss. Heath, 1892.

Berzins, Andrew Rai. Beowulf & Grendel. Equinoxe Films, 2006.

Loughman, Tom. “CHARISMATIC LEADERSHIP IN BEOWULF.” Allied Academies International Conference. Academy of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict. Proceedings. Vol. 7. No. 2. Jordan Whitney Enterprises, Inc, 2002.


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This week you read the Beowulf conclusion. Please answer the following question:

Consider the main characters of the story: Beowulf, Hrothgar, Grendel, and Grendel’s Mother. Who/what is good, and who/what is evil? Explain how you see each character.

Beowulf- Good and Evil

Beowulf- Good and Evil

Make sure to cite evidence from the readings to support your answers. Then, reply to at least ONE other post for full discussion board credit by Monday.

YouTube link: (1039) Beowulf Background History Channel Part1 – YouTube

Unit 3: Circling the Mediterranean: Europe and the Islamic World

Read: Circling the Mediterranean: pgs. 3-17

Read Beowulf Part 1, pgs. 118-142

Read Beowulf Part 2, pgs. 143-173

Read Beowulf Part 3, pgs. 174-194

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