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Beowulf, The One Who Will Be King

844 words - 3 pages

The One Who Will Be KingBeowulf contains a myriad of different heroic ethical and social values. Most of these values are ingeniously rooted within, or made evident by the opposing forces of the poem. The initial opposing force arrives in the form of Grendel, a vile creature who's rampages mirror that of a modern serial killer. As the poem draws toward the conclusion, it focuses on the dragon, a creature developed by the poet to solidify the rise and fall of the archetypal hero.After Adolf Hitler failed in his artistic studies at Vienna, he began to develop what would become a reign of terror on those who were not like him. His backlash towards a society that rejected him as an artist spawned his anti-Semitic and political beliefs. The same anti-societal anger has found its way into the minds of countless other killers, both past and present. Take for example Theodore (Ted) Bundy, who in 1978, after watching students drink and dance in a college bar, witnessed 'a healthy ritual of joy from which we know he forever felt exiled'. Shortly thereafter, Bundy left the bar and traveled to the Chi Omega sorority house where he watched from outside, entered, and then killed two girls and wounded two others.Just as Bundy had done, Grendel watched and surveyed from the distance. He waited outside the great hall, listening to the mirth and celebration from within. He hated them. The revelers inside felt no 'misery of men.' They were not uninvited, outcast, and below the social class of Hrothgar's company. These feelings of inadequacy propel Grendel to slaughter those who oppress him. For 'twelve winters' he smashes bodies and eats his victims, creating a bloody rampage and a dire need for a savior.The question of Grendel's origin is difficult to trace. The author remains ambiguous throughout the poem, referring to Grendel as biblical, but also suggesting that he is human. The original manuscript often refers to Grendel as 'man', but man' with a long vowel meant evil, whereas 'man' with a short vowel literally meant a man. It cannot be certain which pronunciation the author intended, what has been butchered in the translation, or whether this was meant to be a crafty play on words. Grendel is indeed associated with Cain at the beginning of the story, but, 'if Grendel is a kinsman of Cain, he is also a kinsman of Adam,' and therefore both human and evil.Whatever the origin of Grendel, the author nonetheless creates a beautiful example of a being so...

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