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Apart from Wealth, Honor, and Paganistic vs. Biblical themes and motifs,
character is also shown through a certain Man vs. Wild motif. This motif shows
the difference between mankind’s ways (good), and evil’s wild nature (evil).
Grendel for one, is totally wild and is therefore shown as evil. His wild home,
“Grendel, who haunted the moors, the wild marshes, and made his home in a hell
not hell but earth.” shows his wild, untamed, and therefor evil nature.
Grendel’s wilderness is countered in mankind’s ways, especially Beowulf’s.
Beowulf is tame and civilized, the epitomy of goodness and purity. Beowulf
doesn’t fight evil in a wild manner, rather, as shown in his first battle with
Grendel. First off, Beowulf is pure and shows this before his battle when he
removes his armor and vows not to use a weapon to defeat Grendel. Defeating
Grendel, he shows that man, without armor and weapons, can defeat evil in any
form including that of his foe Grendel. This deed serves throughout the epic
serves as a symbol of Beowulf’s Goodness.
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