Beowulf's Struggles In Humanity

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The True Struggle in Humanity (Intro:) The American author Stephen King once said, "Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones." Today the world is plagued with evil, and humans look to literature for an escape, for a chance at peace. This need is what gives words their power; thus, great works of literature are either kind escapes from reality or brazen attempts to change this reality. Beowulf is one of the greatest pieces of ancient English literature known, and falls into the later category. Though it seems to be an illustration of strength, nobility, and honor, the epic poem is much more than just a great work of literature. Beowulf is a philosophical depiction…show more content…
(Body: battle w/Grendel) At the start of the epic poem, the reader is introduced to Beowulf and his quest to help the Danes who have been terrorized by a monster, namely Grendel, for twelve long years. Beowulf is determined to aid King Hrothgar by defeating Grendel and ridding the land of this horrid foe; however, Grendel is not just a terrible monster. Some literary analysts think Grendel to be symbolic of an outsider viewed as a threat by the Danes. David Williams, English author, actor, and renowned television personality, noted that Grendel was "a monstrous outsider enraged by the joy of brotherhood and society from which he is forever banished" (Williams, 45). Throughout the epic poem the monster is often described as deformed and outlandish representing the cruel, judgmental mindset of human beings. Lines 1346-1349 illustrate Hrothgar's recollection of his people's…show more content…
Now as an old hero, Beowulf must take one last stand against the most formidable foe. The narrator shows the reader Beowulf's acceptance of eminent doom, “And Beowulf uttered his final boast:/Then he said farewell to his followers,/Each in his turn, for the last time” (2510-2517). He is fully aware of the looming fate before him and chooses to take a small group of his most trusted men to avoid as much fatality as he can. When they arrive at the barrow where the dragon lays and finally face the beast, everyman, save for Beowulf and Wiglaf, surrenders to the dragon and flees fearing for their lives, leaving their King and one brave man to fight the monstrous beast. It is in this final battle that the most destructive human flaw is revealed: the propensity for betrayal. Beowulf and Wiglaf are left to fight alone, and they gain victory, “But the triumph was the last/Beowulf would ever earn, the end/Of greatness and life together.” (2709-2111). Beowulf's death brings shame to the men who fled him, for they are to blame for their selfishness, their unwillingness to sacrifice; thus, humanity succumbs to the enticing promise betrayal

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