Good and Evil in the Poem “Beowulf”

Heroes have defended the righteous, as villains were bent on destruction. This story represents these qualities in both main characters. The struggle began when God allowed Satan dominion over the earth. Since then the battle between them has been recorded throughout literary history. Some of the heroes that have challenged Satan did so to protect the weak. Others fought for fame and glory. Beowulf, as a conquering hero, destroyed all the monsters in the sea as well as the giants. He has done this for fame and glory; not to protect those people threatened by these foul creatures. He is a killing addict that is constantly on a quest for a new “fix”. He must do this to achieve his ultimate goal. That is to be famous. He wants the scops to sing about him.

He wants to be known by everyone in the world. This is his only purpose in life. The theme of good vs. evil that is present in the story of Beowulf, has become the classic foundation of many modern stories. Beowulf and Grendel represent the ultimate struggle of good and evil. Grendel tries to destroy everything around him. To Beowulf, this is another conquest. It allows him to do yet another good deed that people will talk about. Beowulf represents God and Grendel is Satan. The struggle between God and Satan has existed throughout time. Beowulf is all that is good, moral, and ethical. He lives by the rules of God. Grendel denounces those rules to live by his own.

Thinking only of that which gives him pleasure, he attempts to destroy everything good and kind. Beowulf is like a parent and Grendel is like a child whom he chastises. The characters of Beowulf and Grendel are represented in stories throughout history. They represent the classic struggle of good and evil. There will always be the hero looking for fame and glory. There will always be a “monster” that, acting like an overgrown child, throws a temper tantrum insisting on having everything their way and destroys everything that opposes them.

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Good and Evil in the Poem “Beowulf”. (2019, Feb 27). Retrieved from