Revenge, Hatred, & Greed

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In the poem Beowulf, all three monsters’ actions are fueled by different variations of anger, such as revenge, greed, and hatred, with each having its own reasoning behind it.

One of the intrepid monsters encountered in this poem is Grendel. An inhabitant of the waste is angered by the circuitous singing of Hrothgars men. His hatred is first made evident in the poem on lines two to six: “In the darkness, growled in pain, impatient as day after day the music rang loud in that hall, the harps rejoicing call and poets clear songs, sung of the ancient beginnings of us all…..”. Grendel who is considered to be a descendant of Cain {first son of Adam} did not like the jovial singing of the past which cursed him and generations to come. Grendel interloped into Hrothgar’s mead hall every night for twelve years as long as the warriors kept singing of their pleasures, and killed his men, savagely rendering Herot {mead hall} uninhabitable because of his anger towards the past.

Another malevolent monster in the poem is Grendel’s mother, whose anger is fueled by the death of her son at the hands of Beowulf on lines 341 to 344: “Grendel escaped, but wounded as he was could flee to his den, his miserable hole at the bottom of the marsh, only to die, to wait for the end”. Her revenge for the murder of her son is first observed when she invades Herot; kills and captures one of the Danish nobles and brings him to her den on lines 399 to 414: “Her visit ended their good fortune, reversed the bright vane of their luck……….took a single victim and fled from the hall….assured and sheltered in her dripping claws, she’d taken one of Hrothgar’s closest friends”. Her visit created panic among the Danes, like a cat crawling into a chickens den and chickens coming out left and right, trying to get away from the cat. While Grendels mother was at the mead hall, she not only killed some of the warriors, but also got a supper too. Her anger towards the Danes for the loss of her son was so immense that she dared to get revenge without fear, like a mother who protects her child from harm. But when harmed, will go through all means to defend and make an impregnable wall.

The third and final monster, a daunting fiery dragon that has been guarding a treasure for hundreds of years is disturbed by a thief, who enters the treasure tower and steals a cup. The dragon because of its greed begins terrorizing the Geats, and Beowulf, now an old man, takes on the challenge to kill the dragon. On lines 645 to 651: “…..roared out a battle cry, a cry so loud and clear that it reached through the ……..hung in the dragons ear. The beast rose, angry knowing that a man had come… ”. Beowulf to get the dragons attention yells out to it, like a cheetah who chase’s it’s pray into a trap and catches it, but Beowulf only had himself. The dragon that’s already enraged by the thief, who infringed into the dragons cave and robbed its cup, comes rushing towards Beowulf, breathing fire anomalously.

Grendel, his mother, and the dragon all have anger as the fuel to their outrage. All three of these monsters would not be powerful without out a cause which ignites the outrage, like a fuel to a rocket for it to take off. Sure, the motives behind each “anger” is different, but it all has the same effect, to make one’s body and mind transcend the maximum limit of one’s potential. In our case that “potential” was to get back at someone or something for an inconvenience.







Work Sited:
Beowulf. British Literature. Ed. Janet Allen. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell, 2008.





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