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The Enemy in Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales It is the purpose of this paper to illustrate the dichotomy of the Enemy within the works of Beowulf and Chaucers The Canterbury Tales The Enemies in these two pieces are nothing alike it would be accurate to say that in the odyssey of Beowulf the Enemy is a tangible malevolent force which exists in both physical form and in essence that is to say for example a dragon that represents the essence of strength and terror is embodied in a physical serpentine form whilst Chaucer depicts the Enemy as human traits such as pride beauty and hypocrisy which exist within the human being The Enemy exists in Beowulf as evil which has taken shape and in The Canterbury Tales as the evil within the character of the mortal soul In Beowulf the Enemy first known to us as Grendel is introduced as a powerful demon a prowler through the dark 86 Immediately following this brief introduction the text calls the Enemy A fiend out of hell who began to work his evil in the world Grendel was the name of this grim demon haunting the marshes marauding round the heath and the desolate fens he had dwelt for a time in misery among the banished monsters Cains clan whom the creator had outlawed and condemned as outcasts 101-107 This passage represents the first of the two evils in this paper the Enemy in a physical mortal coil who is terrible in its own right but can be confronted and defeated Grendel rules in defiance of right killing men by the scores until Beowulf faces him in combat Beowulf says Now I mean to be a match for Grendel settle the outcome in single combat 425-426 and I hereby renounce sword and the shelter of a broad shield the heavy war-board hand-to-hand is how it will
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