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Beowulf: The One Who Will Be King

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Poetry & Poets

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Beowulf contains a myriad of different heroic ethical and social
values. Most of these values are ingeniously rooted within, or made evident
by the opposing forces of the poem. The initial opposing force arrives in
the form of Grendel, a vile creature who's rampages mirror that of a modern
serial killer. As the poem draws toward the conclusion, it focuses on the
dragon, a creature developed by the poet to solidify the rise and fall of
the archetypal hero.
After Adolf Hitler failed in his artistic studies at Vienna, he
began to develop what would become a reign of terror on those who were not
like him. His backlash towards a society that rejected him as an artist
spawned his anti-Semitic and political beliefs. The same anti-societal
anger has found its way into the minds of countless other killers, both
past and present. Take for example Theodore (Ted) Bundy, who in 1978, after
watching students drink and dance in a college bar, witnessed "a healthy
ritual of joy from which we know he forever felt exiled". Shortly
thereafter, Bundy left the bar and traveled to the Chi Omega sorority
house where he watched from outside, entered, and then killed two girls and
wounded two others.
Just as Bundy had done, Grendel watched and surveyed from the
distance. He waited outside the great hall, listening to the mirth and
celebration from within. He hated them. The revelers inside felt no "misery
of men." They were not uninvited, outcast, and below the social class of
Hrothgar's company. These feelings of inadequacy propel Grendel to
slaughter those who oppress him. For "twelve winters" he smashes bodies
and eats his victims, creating a bloody rampage and a dire need for a
The question of Grendel's origin is difficult to trace. The author
remains ambiguous throughout the poem, referring to Grendel as biblical,
but also suggesting that he is human. The original manuscript often refers
to Grendel as "man", but man" with a long vowel meant evil, whereas "man"
with a short vowel literally meant a man. It cannot be certain which
pronunciation the author intended, what has been butchered in the
translation, or whether this was meant ...

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Keywords: beowulf king of the geats, beowulf king of

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