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Grendel and Cain In the story of Beowulf you get a glimpse of many different themes throughout this epic Those themes range from good and evil to those of death and glory The story itself depicts a period in history when life was lead blind through the teachings of the book of the lord and his spoken words At this same period in history traditional pagan religious practices and beliefs have slowly given way to the ideals and philosophy of Christianity Many of the themes held within the pages of Beowulf stem from the proverbs and fables recited and practiced in the Old Testament while concurrently adding pagan beliefs of monsters demons and multiple gods The most striking of these biblical comparisons is viewed between Grendel the protagonist evil rival of Beowulf and Cain the evil brother of Able In the Old Testament Cain kills his brother Abel and is consequently punished and banished from the Garden of Eden by God His actions proved to have a dramatic effect on the life of Grendel and the choices he makes throughout his life until his epic struggle for victory over the Geats and Beowulf himself Symbolically and genetically Grendel assumes the role of his ancestor Cain in this epic story as an outsider disowned from the rest of society finding a home only among the unknown evil and those who have sinned Feeding on the flesh and blood of gods creations Grendel starts a vigorous battle to destroy all that is good and the things he can not have To the Anglo-Saxons and the creators of Beowulf one of the worst crimes a person could have committed in life was that of murdering ones kin or the killing of ones brother During the era of this writing the figure of Cain is used metaphorically to represent the unknown chaos evil and the presence of evil Cain defies gods will and so he secludes himself to
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