The Monsters in the Epic of Beowulf Essay

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The poem Beowulf, believed to be written between 650 and 800 by a group of monks, contains several complex characters that have sparked discussions throughout the years. Scholars still continue to ponder over the unanswered questions about characters, such as whether Grendel is monster or human, whether Grendel is evil or not, and what the monsters in Beowulf signify. Other important, though less accepted questions include whether Beowulf is really a hero, or is in actuality a monster, and what allows the characters to be classified as either evil, or not evil. Because both sides of these arguments can be sufficiently supported with textual evidence, it is the reader’s responsibility to defend an appropriate answer. There are no …show more content…
There is enough textual evidence provided in the poem of Beowulf for the reader to assume that Grendel is a monster, which few critics argue. As a means of backing this up, the reader can point out direct statements in the poem, for example, several times Grendel is called “… a fiend out of hell,” who is trying to “… work his evil in the world” (Beowulf 9), and a “… God- cursed brute…” (Beowulf 49). One can also utilize the direct descriptions of Grendel, for he is described as being strong enough to “… grab thirty men from their resting places and rush to his lair…” (Beowulf 11), which is hardly humanlike. Along with these direct statements that Grendel is a monster, there are several facts that are not directly stated, however, they are essential to Grendel’s classification.

There are several indirect statements in the poem that help to classify Grendel as a monster. For example, there is much depravation in Grendel’s life that separates him from the other human beings of that time period. Such as the fact that Grendel is a loner, banished from society, which shows that Grendel has no human communications, which is doubtlessly not a humanlike characteristic. Grendel also has no father, but instead has only a mother, which is bizarre because many of the other characters introduce themselves as “son of ____”, and indeed, despite the fact that Beowulf’s father is dead, he is often referred to as, “…

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