You are watching: What does grendel symbolize in beowulf
MonstersIn Christian middle ages culture, monster to be the wordthat referred to birth defects, which were constantly understood asan ominous sign from God—a sign of transgression or of bad thingsto come. In maintaining with this idea, the monsters the Beowulf must fightin this Old English poem form the poem’s plot and also seem to representan inhuman or alien visibility in culture that must be exorcised forthe society’s safety. They are all outsiders, existing past theboundaries of person realms. Grendel’s and his mother’s encroachmentupon person society—they wreak destruction in Heorot—forces beo wolf tokill the 2 beasts because that order to it is in restored.
To numerous readers, the three monsters the Beowulfslays every seem to have a symbolic or allegorical meaning. Because that instance,since Grendel is lower from the biblical number Cain, who slewhis very own brother, Grendel regularly has been construed to representthe angry in Scandinavian culture of marauding and killing others.A timeless figure of middle ages folklore and a usual Christiansymbol that sin, the dragon may represent an exterior malice thatmust be dominated to prove a hero’s goodness. Since Beowulf’sencounter with the dragon end in shared destruction, the dragonmay also be understood as a symbolic depiction of the inevitableencounter with fatality itself.
The oral Tradition
Intimately associated to the theme of the prominence ofestablishing one’s identification is the oral tradition, i m sorry preservesthe lessons and also lineages that the past, and helps to spread out reputations.Indeed, in a society that has small interaction through writing, onlythe spoken word can enable individuals to learn around others andmake their very own stories known. This focus on oral communicationexplains the prevalence of bards’ tales (such as the Heorot scop’srelating the the Finnsburg episode) and warriors’ boastings (suchas Beowulf’s telling of the Breca story). From a wider perspective,Beowulf itself contributes to the heritage of oral celebrationof cultural heroes. Choose Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, beowulf waspassed on orally over plenty of generations prior to being composed down.
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The poem contains two instances of mead-halls: Hrothgar’sgreat hall of Heorot, in Denmark, and Hygelac’s room in Geatland.Both duty as important social institutions that administer lightand warmth, food and also drink, and also singing and revelry. Historically,the mead-hall stood for a safe haven because that warriors returning frombattle, a tiny zone that refuge within a dangerous and also precariousexternal people that continuously available the hazard of assault by neighboringpeoples. The mead-hall was additionally a ar of community, wherein traditionswere preserved, loyalty was rewarded, and, perhaps most important,stories to be told and also reputations were spread.
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