Beowulf as the symbol of the battle between good and evil.
The first major battle of good and evil in the story is the battle between Grendel and Beowulf. Grendel attacks the people of Herot for twelve years.
The second battle of good and evil is between Beowulf and Grendel’s mother. In the mourning of her son, Grendel’s mother attacks Herot, and kills Hrothgar’s closest friend. Beowulf goes to the lake where Grendel’s mother lives. “She welcomed him in her claws, clutched at him savagely but could not harm him, tried to work her fingers through the tight ring-woven mail on his breast, but tore and scratched in vain.” (Pg.39 lines 578-582), this shows how Beowulf is protected by his armor so he can fight Grendel’s mother. Beowulf finds himself struggling to defeat Grendel’s mother, when his sword cannot hurt her.
“Swung his sword, his ring-marked blade, straight at her head; the iron sang its fierce song, sang Beowulf’s strength. But her guest discovered that no sword could slice her evil skin.” (Pg.40 lines 595-600). Beowulf as defender of good, finally defeats evil in the form of Grendel’s mother. “ And desperate, lifted it high over his head and struck with all the strength he had left, caught her in the neck cut it through, broke bones and all. Her body fell to the floor, lifeless, the sword was wet with her blood, and Beowulf rejoiced at the sigh.” (Pg.41 lines 640-645), this was the last battle of good and evil with Grendel’s mother.
The third major battle of good and evil is between Beowulf and the dragon. Beowulf and eleven of his men go to the dragon lair to fight it. Beowulf goes into the cave alone to fight the dragon. “Pouring forth in a hot battle-fume, the breath of the monster burst from the rock.” (Pg.45 lines 707-708), this shows where the dragon starts to attack Beowulf. Beowulf’s shield and armor fail under the heat from the dragon and his cave.