Your assignment is to write a short paper of 750 words (700-800) double-spaced with standard fonts and margins-only have typing on the front side of each page. The topic for your paper is as follows:
How is the conflict between good and evil portrayed in Beowulf?
have only 2, preferably interrelated, specific points of analysis.
Points you might consider, but are by no means restricted to in composing your paper, include the symbolism associated with Beowulf as the epic hero and the “monsters” (addressing no more than 2 monsters), the role of the Christian transcriber, early Germanic cultural notions of virtue and evil, and both Christian and pagan allusions in the poem.
1) Most important, remember you are writing a literary analysis, not a plot summary.
2) Have a very specific thesis statement for your paper. Your entire paper should relate in some way to your thesis.
3) Have specific topic sentences for your paragraphs. The topic sentence serves the same function for a paragraph as the thesis statement does for the entire paper.
4) Avoid using contractions and abbreviations in formal literary analysis.
5) Avoid overusing “easy” verbs such as to be, to use, and to do in your paper. Try to employ a variety of precise verbs and synonyms in formulating your ideas.
6) Citations should account for no more than 10% of your paper. However, have a few short quotes citing by line, not page numbers. Generally avoid citations in your introductory and concluding paragraphs.
7) Do not make modern-day comparisons in your paper. Instead, focus on the specific cultural, historical, and social settings of the poem itself.
8) Related to the previous point, strive to frame your analysis in terms of the specific historical, literary, and cultural terms, briefly defining such a concept when you introduce it. TERMS ARE AS FOLLOWS: scop, wyrd, kenning, comitatus, wergild, thane, embedded narrative, epic epithet.
(Be sure to use these in paper)
9) Have a specific title for your paper
10) Avoid using first person (I, me, my, and we) and second person references (you and your) in formal literary analysis.
11) Avoid cliches (stock expressions) and colloquialisms (informal phrasing and diction) in formal literary analysis.
Good vs Evil in Beowulf.
In the epic “Beowulf,” there is a constant struggle between good and evil and can be used to verily exemplify the early adage of bad guys hardly win. The writer has by far used various skills to demonstrate the historical concepts and traditions surrounding the early Christian and ecclesiastical way of life. Examples of such contextualized paradigms include: God versus Cain, Beowulf versus Grendel, and Beowulf versus Grendel’s mother. In the thesis statement, the essay seeks to understand the conflicting specifics and generalities surrounding the two closely linked and binding elements of good and evil. Good and evil can be considered to be two sides of the same coin. What generally can be viewed as Good in some sections of the society, in other quarters might prove unwelcome or alien (Greenblatt 479-481).
In “Beowulf,” there are several elements and instances of contradiction and there is proper use of symbolism to achieve such. The element of Men vs Monsters is such points to note. In the poem, the line between Men and Monsters is a hard one to really distinguish and clearly make a difference. The book fails to bring out the difference when defining man being good and monster being bad, bad rather it is tailored to reflect strength and superhuman abilities. Such us, strength, courage, and power are considered well by the poet, whereas the contrary is seen to be evil. In the poem, Beowulf’s power is accorded the supernatural title and despite his desire for violence and blood, in the eyes of the writer still exists a bigger demon in the name of Grendel who he plans to revenge (Greenblatt 480-482).
The contradiction is the sided look at the crimes committed by both Beowulf and Grendel. In both cases there is a considerable killings and bloodshed but the emphasis is on the purpose for which such killings are committed. At this juncture it is prudent to link up the events with the belief system of the people. The context is based on the sources of power. Such that Beowulf is heaven sent and his power is given by God to fight evil. He is sent to save the ancient Christians and as much as he would use his sword to fight, he abandons it and ends up using his bare hands. ‘’ Grendel is no braver, no stronger than I am! I could kill him with my sword; I shall not, easy as it would be. This fiend is a bold and famous fighter, but his claws and teeth …Beating at my sword blade, would be helpless. I will meet him with my hands empty-unless his heart fails him, seeing a soldier waiting/ Weaponless, unafraid. Let God in His wisdom extend His hand where He wills, reward whom he chooses!” (Greenblatt lines 677-687).
Grendel is considered as a vicious monster by the poet, an offspring of everything evil. Grendel being evil prompts God to refuse to forgive him and favors Beowulf’s despite being too proud, something considered evil, over Grendel’s sins. The battle ends with an overwhelming victory in favor of Beowulf.
The poet talks of Heorat a famous hall, filled with songs of praise and beauty of God. Near Heorat in a dark hill lives a demon by the name Grendel, who is the descendant of Cain and murderer of Abel. The author has included the epic epithet literal device to when describing the characteristics Grendel. By describing Grendel as a descendant of Cain, he intended to portray the evil character of Grendel that is not actual in real senses. The successive scene, the poet included Scop to describe the flow of events in the evening Heorat. Scop took a part in Heorat through singing narrative songs to encourage the warriors (Greenblatt 496).
In the preceding pages the poet talks of Grendel being cursed to hell and shun from the beauty of God. Considerably the evil is the major contributor of the blood feud between Mankind and Monster. To this extend we can derive the conflict of Christianity and paganism as used to illustrate the conflict of good and evil. Perceptively we are treated to the fact that the monster is not the mastermind of his actions but rather there live an evil thing between man and monster. Christian deeds have been considered to portray good even in the event of their own fights. The poet tries to show how reconciliatory measures are made and how pagans among Christians are the major cause of the conflicts. Beowulf is made a king among his people. His first visit to Danish land is met with austerity and caution. But in the event of it his Christian background is viewed positively. Grendel is banished and killed, his mother too is later killed. “Beowulf, you’ve come to us in friendship, and because Of the reception your father found at court. The poet used the literal style referred to as “wyrd.” He explained the fate of Beowulf and Grendel after they chose their destinations in their lives. He describes that Beouwulf fate was positive while that of Grendel become disastrous since he was an evil character. Edgetho had begun a bitter feud, Killing Hathlaf, a Wulfing warrior: Your father’s countrymen were afraid of war, if he returned to his home, and they turned him away,” (Greenblatt lines 457-466). The point of reconciliation between the Danes and Grates is then realized. In summary, the poet is trying to relate to us the good and bad in the religious backgrounds involved. Christianity is portrayed as pure and good practice while paganism is not acceptable and is banished to hell.
In conclusion therefore, the poet has constructively used various literal skills to bring to reality the conflict and double existence of light and darkness throughout the poem. Furthermore, the two aspects must always oppose each other but vividly expressed is the ultimate win of the good as a matter of obvious certainty.
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