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How does Beowulf feel about the battle of good and evil?

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caseycopeland | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 3, 2008 at 3:46 AM via web

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How does Beowulf feel about the battle of good and evil?

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khenson | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted September 3, 2008 at 5:55 AM (Answer #1)

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As an epic hero, Beowulf epitomizes the ultimate "do-gooder".  The conflict presented in the epic poem centers around the universal themes of good v. evil; in this case the nordic races of the Danes and the Geats v. the supernatural beings of Grendel and his mother.  As a protector of the nordic races and their way of life, Beowulf battles the forces of evil with unheralded enthusiasm and unmitigated valor.  With this bravado also comes an uncompromising code of honor and nobility exemplified in his epic mead hall battle with Grendel.  It is clear that the hero's perceptions of good and evil, right and wrong are indubitably etched in thick, dark lines and their is no doubt on the part of the hero that he represents all that is sacred to his people and humanity.  Beowulf's honor and prestige are marked not through simple victory, but more importantly through is willingness to meet the challenge of great evil, even at the expense of his own life.  In fact, it is the precipitation of this basic premise that has led Beowulf into battle against Grendel, as it is Grendel who has disrupted and interfered with the nordic tradition of the mead hall as a place of gathering and boasting.  Beowulf again relies on his unwavering sense of duty and righteousness to eventually battle and slay Grendel's Mother.  In end it is clear that Beowulf has not doubts whatsoever concerning the place of good and evil in his world.

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