Monsters Essay, Research Paper

In many stories throughout ancient times, Monsters

have been the focus of the problems in one’s society. These creatures

of the dark have always posed a certain threat to society. Further

monsters have been connected to features that are subhuman or

primitive animal like features. Beowulf, who’s author is unknown, is an

epic poem which portrays these themes associated with monsters

during the pre Anglo-Saxon times where feudalism has dawned and

revolves around a lonesome hero from Geatland named Beowulf. In this

epic poem monsters are shown as beings which exhibit the dark side of

man and bear features that are animal-like or grotesque, and later

showing how man shuns such beings. Throughout the poem three

monsters appear from the darkness. Grendel, a powerful monster

spawned from hell, Grendel’s mother, a creature that brewed in a cold

murky lake, and the Dragon, a great beast who personifies death, are

monsters in this poem who exhibit these traits of darkness.

The representation of evil where rage and wraith are involved

are most seen in the character of Grendel. The idea of rage and wraith

is seen as being linked to man’s violent ways are embodied in him. The

Author states “.., living down in the darkness, growled in pain, impatient

as day after day the music rang loud in the hall, the harp’s rejoicing”

(86-89), exposes Grendel’s great fury against this enjoyment. As

Grendel’s character development increases, the narrator tells of Grendel’s

features and origins which entails how he was ,”…spawned in that slime,

conceived of Cain, murderous creatures banished By God…” (104-107),

furthering the resentment of man, and man’s will of getting rid of such

freakish creatures. The author’s notation of Cain from the bible in the

line shows the dark side of man, and how Grendel symbolizes it.

As opposed to Grendel’s deeds and wild rage, Grendel’s mother

can be seen as almost a moral antagonist. Grendel’s mother could be

viewed as having a human persona that is all too familiar to most people.

Grendel’s mother is seen as a symbol of revenge when the author states,

“But a monster had lived and meant revenge she’d brooded on her loss.

misery had brewed in her heart, that female horror,”( 1257-1259) which

displays the loss of Grendel and her revenge for his death. The plot of

Beowulf’s defeat of Grendel’s mother symbolizes man’s overcoming of

revenge. As for features represented in Grendel’s mother is spoken of as

being a she-wolf, displaying the human disinclination of the primal or

animal-like. Grendel’s mother is emblematic of the dark side of the

human psyche of its disaffection for revenge and disfavorment of the


Of all the monsters in the poem, none can amount to the evil

and acridity of the dragon. The dragon is seen as the one who is most

despised because of his sense of true and metaphysical evil. One of his

traits would be that of greed. For example the line which states, “The cup

brought peace to a slave, pleased his master, but stirred the dragon’s

anger- The dragon followed anxious to find the man who had robbed it

of silver” (2285-2295), exhibits how one piece of treasure out of his

whole treasure can disturb such a creature. The poem later then captures

the dragon’s metaphysical villenous in taking out all of Beowulf’s villages

with his fiery breath. ((add one more sentence to back it up))

Anger, revenge and greed are traits of man’s dark side.

These qualities of man are embodied in monsters. Such monsters are

even more personified by giving certain looks in which are animal like

or subhuman.

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