Beowulf And Revenge Essay, Research Paper
Is revenge an excuse to commit murder? Some people might think it is.
In the epic poem Beowulf, the anonymous author believes this. Beowulf was
written between the 8th and 10th century and the transcripts were kept in a
monastery. The transcripts were there until King Henry VIII desolved all
monasteries, and then the writings of Beowulf were used to wrap butchered
meat. When Beowulf battles Grendel, fights Grendel s Mom, and brawls with the
dragon the author seems to believe that revenge is an excuse for murder. In
every confrontation revenge is involved.
The struggle between Beowulf and Grendel is the first example of
revenge in the book. Grendel is frustrated because he is not allowed to interact
with people. Grendel becomes so enraged that he goes on murderous
rampages. After Grendel kills all those men, Hrothgar is furious and wants
revenge. More slender grew my strength of dear warriors; death took them
off…should the mood so take you, some tale of victory. (p66, 486-490) Hrothgar
tells Beowulf about all the lives Grendel has taken and then hopes for a victory.
Hrothgar wants this evil monster to be diminished more than anyone.
After Grendel s arm is taken off by Beowulf, the monster flees home and
dies in front of his mother. Now his mother is full of rage and wants to get even.
But his mother now purposed to set out at last – savage in her grief – on that
wrath-bearing visit of vengeance for her son. (p91, 1277-79) Grendel s mom is
clearly set out on getting revenge for her son s death. Even though her son was
killed for a good reason, she stills wants to avenge his death. One of the
greatest soldiers is killed by the Mother of Grendel. The author finds revenge a
valid excuse to commit murder.
The last and final battle is driven by revenge on both sides. A slave goes
into the lair of the dragon and steals a golden goblet. This awakes the angry
dragon. The dragon then comes to the village and breathes fire on it. Beowulf
then wants to kill the monster because of what the dragon did to his people. I
shall venture this feud and again achieve glory…if this evil destroyer dares to
come out of his earthen hall. (p130, 2512-2515) Beowulf was killed in the battle
and so was the dragon. Beowulf would not just let this dragon push him and his
people around, he had to retaliate.
All through out the lay revenge plays a part. Right from the start they talk
about how they want the monster Grendel dead. The author of Beowulf has a
strong belief that revenge is an excuse for murder and he shows this with the
battle with Grendel, the fight with Grendel s Mom, and the brawl with the
dragon. All the monsters have reasons to be mad at the people in the book and
the people have reasons to be mad at the monsters. Revenge is a cycle that
goes on and on.