Beowulf 13 Essay, Research Paper
Beowulf’s Dark Side
In Beowulf, Beowulf, the great warrior, encounters three supernatural creatures that reveal the true dark side of human kind. Beowulf encounters these creatures with the driving force of greed and heroism. All of the monsters go through some events that cause them to change their behavior. Beowulf trying to fix all of those problems falls in the same “dark side” that the monsters did. The motivation of there battles reveals the dark side of man – jealousy, revenge, and greed.
At the beginning of the book, Grendel attacks Herot because of jealousy. He is woken by the songs that Herot sings when the town is completed. He then becomes jealous because of the idea that everyone has friends except him. Grendel was believed to be one of the pair of monsters that was a descendent of Cain, banished by God, forever punished for the crime of Abel’s death. ” Since Cain had killed his only / Brother, slain his father’s son / With an angry sword. God drove him off, / outlawed him ” (Beowulf, 1261 – 1264). Grendel envies the fellowship and happiness he sees in Herot. He hates not having anyone and being excluded from the company of men. He is jealous of the pleasures that men have. That is why Grendel kills the people of Herot for twelve years. Eventually, the news that Grendel is attacking Herot reaches King Hygleac in Geatland. Beowulf tells King Hygleac that he will sail to Hrothgar’s kingdom to offer help. Beowulf is received by Herot’s coastal guard who then takes him with King Hrothagar. As soon as he gets to the Danish shore, Hrothgar’s coastal guard awaits them. Beowulf tells the guard who he is and states his reason for coming. The guard takes the Geats to Herot. Arriving at Herot, King Hrothgar asks Beowulf why he is there and Beowulf answers him that he is there to help him. Hrothgar asks him why he thinks he can do this job. Beowulf tells Hrothgar that he has had experience in combat against water-monsters.
They have seen my strength for themselves,
Have watched me rise from the darkness of war,
Dripping with my enemies’ blood. I drove
Five great giants into chains, chased
All of that race from the earth (416 – 421).
Although Grendel shows his “dark side” by killing everyone because of the jealousy he has of not having any friends, Beowulf also shows this jealousy when he brags about himself. ” ‘ Grendel is no braver, no stronger / Than I am! I could kill him with my sword; I shall not ” (676 – 677). Beowulf starts saying things about himself on how he is the best warrior in the world and that he could be the only one who could kill Grendel. Beowulf probably thinks that there could be someone better than him that is why he does that. He might be jealous that he is not the best. At the end of the poem, Beowulf demonstrates the contrary. He is not jealous that Wiglaf was better than he was, because he killed the dragon. He even tells him that he will be the heir of his kingdom. ” Wiglaf, lead my people, / Help them; my time is gone ” (2800 – 2801). Probably when Beowulf was young, he did not notice that he could also demonstrate those kinds of bad values, but since he is now old, experienced and mature he notices that he must forget about himself and think about others.
The Danes thought that they could sleep peacefully for the first time in twelve years. They were wrong, what they did not know was that Grendel’s mother was furious at the death of her child and was planning revenge on the Danes as they celebrating and relaxing. “But a monster still lived, and meant revenge. / She’d brooded on her loss, misery had brewed / In her heart, that female horror “(1257 – 1259). She wanted only to bring the Danes sorrow. Although she was a monster, she still was a mother. Revenge is considered something bad, but when someone kills your own son nobody thinks about what is right from wrong. “And her greed, drove her from her den on the dangerous / Pathway of revenge ” (1277 – 1278). She hated the Danes so much that she would fight with all her strength just for the murder of her child. ” No female, no matter / How fierce, could have come with a man’s strength, / Fought with the power and courage men fight with ” (1282 – 1284). Hrothgar’s closet friend and advisor Aeschere’s, had been kidnapped and killed by Grendel’s mother. As soon as Hrothgar heard this he thought of the same thing that Grendel’s mother thought when he heard her son had been killed. Therefore, Hrothgar sent for Beowulf. “She’s taking revenge for your victory over Grendel ” (1334). The thought of revenge also comes to the mind of Beowulf as soon as he is told the story of what happens. Beowulf promises Hrothgar to revenge his friends death by killing Grendel’s mother. ” ‘Let your sorrow end! It is better for us all / To avenge our friends, not mourn them forever’ ” (1384 – 1385). Revenge is not just something that monsters might want, it is a normal feeling that everybody has deep inside. All three, Beowulf, Hrothgar, and Grendel’s mother felt revenge for their own reasons. Forgiveness is better than revenge because nobody wins with revenge; something else might happen if problems worsen. ” They’d traded deaths, / Danes and monsters, and no one had won, / Both had lost!” (1304 – 1306).
Years later, Beowulf became king. His reign was peaceful and harmonious until one of the Geats steals an ornamented cup from the riches of a dragon that has peacefully, but devotedly, protected his vast treasure for hundreds of years. “But the thief had not come to steal; he stole, / And aroused the dragon, not from desire / but need ” (2221 – 2223). What could ignite this dragon that just because someone had stolen a little cup, which he could not use nor need so much that he would kill and destroy a town? “It could neither use nor ever abandon” (2277). The dragon was greedy that someone had taken something that it could not use. The dragon wanted vengeance from the thief who had stolen from it. He wanted his cup back. “The beast went back to its treasure, planning / A bloody revenge ” (2299 – 2300). When the sun came down he went out of his den seeking for that cup. He destroyed houses and killed many. “Vomiting fire and smoke, the dragon / Burned down their homes ” (2312 – 2313). Beowulf also wanted revenge of what the dragon had made to his kingdom. The dragon had destroyed the peace they had had for many years. ” The Geats / Deserved revenge; Beowulf, their leader / And lord began to plan it ” (2355 – 2357). The greed that the dragon felt had also caused him to feel revenge and what the dragon had done to Beowulf’s kingdom had caused him to feel revenge also. Beowulf went to the dragon’s den to seek his revenge. When he got there the fight began. The battle lasted only minutes, but Beowulf won with the help of Wiglaf. Beowulf had been wounded and was about to die. Beowulf was also greedy in the way that he would always get some prizes for every thing that he did. That is why he probably did it. As he was dying he told Wiglaf to bring him some of the things that he won by killing the dragon.
Wiglaf, go, quickly, find
The dragon’s treasure: we’ve taken its life,
But its gold is ours too. Hurry,
Bring me ancient silver, precious
Jewels, shining armor and gems,
Before I die. Death will be softer
(2744 – 2749).
Just by reading what Beowulf said in his last minutes of life, anyone can notice that he probably fought with the dragon just for the treasure. Beowulf probably knew that if he kills the dragon and lives, he could be the richest and most powerful king in the world. Both the dragon and Beowulf wanted revenge for things that one had done to the other. The dragon’s greed forced him into revenge once the thief had stolen a little cup that had no significance to him but for the thief, it was probably his life. Beowulf sought revenge because he knew that the treasure could be his.
Beowulf went through many things during his life. Beowulf almost certainly thought that he was the warrior that could fix every single detail, that is why he fights all of the monsters. Beowulf tries to deal with all of the monsters because of the things they do. Thinking that he always does the correct thing, sometimes he does not. Every time he killed a monster, he did it for a reason. Sometimes it would be for revenge, for jeoulsy, or greed. Not everybody is perfect in life. Everyone does things that are wrong eventhough they have a good reason to do it.