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Word Count: 748
The Epitome of Evil The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is the most important work of Old English literature and is well deserved of the distinction The epic tells the story of a hero a Geat prince named Beowulf who rids the Danes of the monster Grendel a descendant of Cain The storyteller uses many elements to build a certain kind of depth in the characters specifically Grendel The storyteller uses specific passages in the poem to help mold the readers feelings about Grendel show the reader what accounts for the monsters evil nature and also represents Grendel as evil The storyteller starts off by explaining who Grendel is in the first section on page 21 lines 19-23 Grendel who haunted the moors the wild marshes and made his home in a hell not hell but earth He was spawned in that slime conceived by a pair of those monsters born of Cain murderous creatures banished by God punished forever for the crime of Abels death This first depiction of Grendel already gives the reader a sense of corruption and immortality The biblical character Cain is always related to evil because he murdered his own brother Therefore the association of Cain with Grendel gives us a hint that Grendel is evil Also there is a motif that shows the difference between mankinds ways considered good and evils wild natures ways considered evil Grendel for one is totally wild and is therefore shown as evil Portraying his home on page 21 lines 17- 19 Grendel is illustrated as a barbaric character that lives in the moors in darkness The darkness also symbolizes mystery which also relates to evil On the other hand Beowulf is tamed and civilized the epitome of goodness and purity As shown in his first battle with Grendel Beowulf does not fight evil in a wild manner First off Beowulf is pure and shows this before his
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