It is in our nature as humans to sometimes feel hopeless and lonely as we strive to achieve our dreams. However, our belief and trust in God not only helps us to get rid of those feelings, but it also ensures our actions are in line with Christian teachings. An anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet composed the battle with Grendel during England's transition into Christianity. The poet's combinations of Christian and pagan aspects demonstrated the religious transition effects. The poet uses the battle with Grandel to represent the fight between good and evil.Men in The Battle with Grendel had to battle with feelings of loneliness, disparity and longing for the love of a higher power as they fought for their home against Grendel.
Grendel, the monster terrifying King Hrothgar's kingdom is often alone with nobody to talk to. Being a monster, he has no friends he often complains to the sky about his lonely status. He once stated (Kiernan), "Why can't I have someone to talk to?" The stars said nothing but I ignored their rudeness. "The sharper has someone to talk to, "I said. I wrung my fingers. "Hrothgar has people to talk to." In this instance, Gredel complains of loneliness after Hrothgar's men banish him from the town, he attempts to approach them so that they can build a friendship, but they reject him. Gredel continues to complain about loneliness by stating (Kiernan) "I could walk up the Meadhall whenever I pleased, and they were powerless. My hearts become darker because of that. Though I scorned them, sometimes hated them, there had been something between myself and men when we could fight. Now invulnerable, I was solitary as one live tree in a vast landscape of coal." In the above statement, Grendel continues to complain about his loneliness after the dragon had given him a charm enabling him to destroy King Hortgar's men fearlessly. Despite his newly acquired powers, Grendel feels lonely since he misses fighting with the men. Although the fights were quite dangerous and deadly, Grendel used them as a means to connect with humans.
Grendel is faced with the feeling of despair after he meets the dragon who gives him the magical charm. He expressed his hopelessness by stating (Kiernan), "Futility, doom, became the smell in the air pervasive acrid as the dead smell after a forest fire-my scent and the world's, the scent of trees, rocks, waterways wherever I went."Although Grendel lived a miserable life even before meeting the dragon after they meet, he realized that his life was no longer in his control. This new perspective of his life makes him feel hopeless since he knows he can't change his fate.
Beowulf continually shows his love and fear of God. He understands that all gifts come from God and that a man seeking God's love must be unselfish and humble. To acquire the love of God Beowulf strives to ensure that all his through all his actions, he is humble and selfless. He even states (Kiernan) "The fight would have ended straightaway had God not protected me."Beowulf understood that God doesn't like men who are proud and for his to acquire God's love, he must be humble. He credited God for the success in defeating Grendel mother instead of blowing his horn. In Beowulf's quest to attain God's love, he acknowledges God as his protector. He states (Kiernan), "But the Wielder of Men granted me that I should see hanging on the wall a fair, ancient great-sword" In the statement, Beowulf acknowledges that since God is his protector, he enabled him to see the sword which he uses to slay Grendel mother.
In Beowulf's quest to defeat Grendel, he shows how much he long to acquire God's love. While destroying and terrorizing Hrothgar's men, Grendel displays his loneliness and despair after learning his fate. Due to his unfriendly nature, Grendel is always lonely with nobody to socialize with. After he meets with the dragon, he finally gets someone to talk to, but the feeling of despair take over him after he learns about the fate of his life. Beowulf's longing for God's love ensures he is actions are according to the Christian doctrines. Although Beowulf was faced with the almost impossible task of fighting a monster, he was confident enough that he would win.We should approach our life challenges with courage and belief that we can overcome whatever comes our way.
Kiernan, Kevin S. Beowulf and the Beowulf Manuscript. University Of Michigan Press, 1999.
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