Essay, Research Paper: Beowulf And Evil Problem

Literature: Beowulf

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The key to writing an epic poem is to show that there is a predominant hero who
paved the way for a nation. This hero should be someone who shows qualities such
as loyalty to his followers, bravery and courage just to name a few. Strophe 8
in Burton Raffels’ translation of Beowulf shows all of these qualities in
Beowulf. Strophe 8 is the tail of Beowulf’s first of three battles with deadly
beasts. It starts out by telling the reader that Grendel is coming “out from
the marsh… bearing God’s hatred”(394-395) revealing to all that Grendel
comes from a hellish hole and is all that is evil. Little does Grendel know that
this trip for prey shall not be as easy as the previous many. The monster who
once took 30 men to his slimy hell of a home to eat would “gnaw the broken
bones of his last human supper”(417-418). The great Beowulf and his 14
warriors have been called upon to save Hrothgars people and destroy this beast.
After devouring one man with ease, Grendel grasped Beowulf and found himself to
be at the mercy Beowulf’s deadly grip. The battle through the beautiful hall
of Herot proved to be successful when “him who of all the men on earth was the
strongest”(471-472) defeated the retched beast. Beowulf proved to all that he
would back down to no one. Any good battle can make a story exciting, and that
is exactly what the battle with Grendel does to this story. At the very
beginning of this strophe the reader is informed about Grendels living quarters
setting the mood in an evil tone. It is already known that Beowulf is the ideal
of good, thus setting up the ever-exciting battle of god versus evil. The battle
was so intense that “the high halls rang, it’s roof boards swayed and Danes
shook with terror”(449-450). Such an intense battle is so enthralling that it
is hard not to be enveloped in all the commotion. Grendel the beast who could
not be defeated by any ordinary man “whose hands were harder”(434) and there
was nothing he could do about it. This great power Beowulf showed in the battle
truly set him apart from all other normal men. The whole time I was reading this
part of the poem I was anxious to find the result of the battle. The translator
did an excellent job of capturing the parts of the strophe, which made it so
exciting. The way it was described that Grendel “snatched the first Geat…
drank the blood from his veins and bolted him down”(421-425) shows how graphic
the language is in this poem making it much more exciting. I really became
interested in the plot after this strophe because of the vivid and colorful
imagery that was used to describe the battle. Imagery is very important part of
capturing your audience and this strophe did exactly that. When trying to
translate any type of literature it can be very hard to capture the excitement
in the original work. When you have a specific point to get across it can be
much harder, but in Beowulf is very clearly shown that Beowulf is loyal to his
people, brave and courageous the true characteristics of a hero.
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