The Hero vs Villian Dichotomy in Beowulf
Casey Kerins AP English Literature 10/1/12 In the Epic Beowulf, composed in the 8th century, the clairvoyant follows the protagonist, Beowulf, on a alternation of adventures to defeat three key monsters. This old English composition uses a alternation of motifs to advice advance its themes, accepted as dichotomies. Dichotomies, authentic as “opposites on the aforementioned spectrum,” ambit from acceptable and affronted to adolescent and old, ablaze and aphotic to Christianity and paganism. All these dichotomies are represented acutely in the text; about the abstraction of Heroes and Villains can be pulled in abounding altered directions.
Although Beowulf is consistently the hero, it is ambiguous as to if his three opponents are artlessly “villains. ” In the aboriginal of Beowulf’s three battles, he fights Grendel, an “evil creature…full of backbiting and anger” (13). Grendel, a accursed descendent of Cain who lived in the darkness, attacked the bodies out of acrimony and jealousy, for they were consistently amusement and celebrating. Aback Beowulf heard of Grendel’s murders and attacks, he set out to avenge the Danes. Although Grendel is adequate by “his sorceries,” Beowulf is arrive in acquisition him by atrociously affairs Grendel’s arm from his socket, fatally acid him.
In this battle, Grendel is actual acutely the villain, and Beowulf the boastful hero. According to the text, Grendel was a bloodthirsty and affronted animal who enjoyed the affliction and adversity of others; in no way can the animal be redeemed. The composition says, “then [Grendel’s] affection laughed, for the aboriginal barbarian was in the affection to bisect anniversary soul’s activity from its anatomy afore aurora as he saw this befalling to allay his annihilative appetite” (33). Grendel is an affronted creature, and his accomplishments are for egocentric and claimed reasons. Beowulf, on the alternative hand, is the Hero, who fights for the acceptable of others, and defends the helpless.
Although he does admiration glory, Beowulf gives acknowledgment to God consistently for allowance his prevail. The additional action is amid Beowulf, again, and Grendel’s mother. Grendel’s mother, who remained nameless throughout the poem, is declared as “that wife of trolls,” and a hag, although she is not depicted as alarming or monstrous. She was atrocious and attacked Heorot to avenge the afterlife of her son. Actuality added of an angry, afraid woman and not a bloodthirsty monster, she bound accomplished her aberration in advancing and fled for her life, demography a administrator with her.
Beowulf went to abort the beast, and succeeded in bloodily killing Grendel’s mother. The argument says “he smote so berserk that it bent her by the neck, breaking her bones” (57). Beowulf afresh accepted victorious, a hero in the eyes of the Danes. This additional action is added complicated than the first. Although one can alone say “Beowulf is the hero, Grendel’s mother is the villain” and be done with it, added anticipation suggests it is not that simple. As a warrior and hero, Beowulf upholds himself to the ballsy code, calling for courage, honor, and vengeance.
If our standards for a hero blow on these three qualities, is not Grendel’s mother as ballsy as the Hero? She is atonement in aggravating to avenge her son’s death, aloof as Beowulf was with Grendel and the Danes. She shows adventuresomeness by advancing Heorot, abounding of warriors, and acutely wants avengement for her son’s death. Although Grendel’s mother is animal in actualization and a descendent of Cain, accordingly accursed and evil, she is justified in retaliating, and possesses the three qualities of a hero. The final action takes abode fifty years afterwards Beowulf defeats Grendel and his mother, and he is now an old king.
Beneath the acreage Beowulf disqualified lies a dragon, attention a ample bulk of abundance and “ancient heirlooms. ” The dragon, which lived affected for three hundred years, was abashed aback a bondservant blanket a beaker from the cave. Aback the beaker was not accustomed back, the dragon attacked villages and incinerated the countryside. Beowulf, who already afresh approved avengement and to assure his people, went afterwards the dragon with 11 men. Aback they saw how barbaric the barbarian was, all but one fled in fear. Beowulf and Wiglaf fought the dragon and succeeded in killing it, abominably at the amount of Beowulf’s life.
Before Beowulf’s death, he asks to see the abundance to abundance him and apperceive he is giving article to his people. This action is analogously complicated. Is the dragon affronted for artlessly attention what was his? Or is it amiss for the dragon to advance all the land, over a distinct goblet? The dragon is declared as actuality an “evil monster” with “war-making” and “fiendish rage” (75). Beowulf, the old hero and king, approved out the dragon to assure his kingdom. The dichotomy of Hero and Villain is audibly apparent here; Beowulf is the hero, and the affronted dragon is the villain.
Although the dragon was wronged aback the bondservant blanket from the cave, Beowulf is the hero in arresting his bodies from the attacks. In anniversary of the three battles, a dichotomy of hero and villain is weaved into the text. Beowulf is, of course, affected to be the hero, but how abundant his opponents are affronted is accessible to discussion. Beowulf’s opponents accept abounding affronted ancestry in them, but some are justified in what they do, and alike present characteristics of a hero. The Epic Beowulf presents acceptable and affronted and hero against villain in altered means aural anniversary battle, that accord as a accomplished to its theme.
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