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In The Following Essay, The Poem Beowulf Is Analyzed To Determine If Grendel And His Mother Are Humans Or Monsters.

1181 words - 5 pages

Subject: How Human are Grendel and his Mother?Although a cursory analysis of the poem may lead oneto see Grendel and his mother as quintessentialrepresentations of a belial and insensate monstrositythat is in diametrical opposition to ubiquitousexpectations for tellurians regarding affect, indices ofthe physicality, etc., closer examination of the textreveals the astonishing possibility that thesepurportedly nefarious and murderous monsters may be morehuman than their "civilized" enemies, using violence inan act of desperation to overcome the hegemonichedonists who eschew them and treat them as anathemawhile forcing them to abscond to live as pariahs in thewilderness. Furthermore, I will show by proceedingapodictically, that Grendel and his mother have anintrinsic sense of morality and virtue that is rareamong most humans; unfortunately, the stereotypicalgeneralizations, premature attributions, andprovincialism of this pantheon(qualities which the Danesand Geats also categorically exemplify, for if a"perfect being" uses flawed reasoning then, a fortiori,"mortal men will also?"), frustrates this forlorn familyto the point of taking actions which are antithetical totheir beliefs. Paradoxically, then, virtue disguised asevil is destroyed by evil wearing the mask of virtue,twohistrionic vignettes which, if believed, can greatlyalter one's understanding of the story. If one thinksthe foregoing assertions are a stretch, get readybecause if the rubber band of rhetoric ain't malleable,it's gonna burst! Although God knows that Grendel andhis mother are inherently virtuous and desire toreconcile their differences with him, he snubs them onpurpose, an orchestrated maneuver to drive them tocertifiable actions so that the faith of the Danes andthe Geats can be tested - he uses them as pawns and, inthe end, they all suffer as they are divested of theircorporeal existence or labeled as recreants, foreverdoomed to suffer plague and misfortune- they are struckwith a cecity to their self-constructed apotheosis andforced to identify their status as "humans."When people receive "labels", it is extremelydifficult to disabuse others of the notion that they areinherently false. The misdiagnosed schizophrenic or theHispanic boy who cannot speak English and is labeled asmentally retarded often suffer under such stigmatism fortheir entire lives. Assuming that the Grendels( I willrefer to them both by this abbreviated title for thesake of brevity) are human(I know I am begging thequestion, but subsequent proof will negate what is alogical fallacy at first glance) the stigma that isassociated with being the descendants of such a despisedfigure as Cain are paralyzing. They are forced into a defacto exile to escape the torture from those who areunwilling to look beyond the impropriety committed byCain. There is, quite curiously, no mention that theGrendels were violent before they started their assaulton the Danes. It is important to remember that they aredescribed as the...

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