Epic of Beowulf Essay - The Conflicts in Beowulf

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The Conflicts in Beowulf Brian Wilkie and James Hurt in Literature of the Western World discuss what is perhaps the overriding or central conflict in the poem Beowulf, namely the struggle between good and evil, and how the monsters are representative of the evil side: Ker was answered in 1936 by the critic and novelist J.R.R. Tolkien, author of Lord of the Rings, who argued that “the monsters are not an inexplicable blunder of taste; they are essential, fundamentally allied to the underlying ideas of the poem, which give it its lofty tone and high seriousness.” For Tolkien, the monsters were symbolic of eternal forces of evil while remaining real monsters (1273). The numerous conflicts within Beowulf are both external…show more content…
. . .The treatment in the three great fights of the motives of weapons, treasure and society implies a moral idea in which the poet believed: that a man should not trust in the things of this world, for they will fail him. Another aspect of this idea comes out clearly in the account of the first fight: that a man should trust rather in God and in the natural powers God gives him, for these will not fail him(234-37). King Hrothgar’s construction of Heorot and the subsequent enhancement of the joy of the Danes precipitated the first serious conflicts in Beowulf: So lived the clansmen in cheer and revel a winsome life, till one began to fashion evils, that field of hell. Grendel this monster grim was called, march-riever mighty, in moorland living, in fen and fastness; fief of the giants the hapless wight a while had kept since the Creator his exile doomed. This “kin of Cain” Grendel could not endure the joy of the Danes and their celebration of God’s creation of the world. Consequently he attacked Heorot and killed 30 warriors the first night. Thus the reader sees a very serious external conflict between this monster and the Danish people. This situation brought about a serious internal conflict within their king, Hrothgar, who was totally frustrated by his inability to get rid of Grendel: THUS seethed unceasing the son of Healfdene with the woe of these days; not wisest men
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