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The Embodiment of Good and Evil in Characters of Beowulf

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When reading Beowulf, parts of the article are very disturbing, some would say it is the monsters that make the poem the way it is. In Beowulf, one of the main monsters Grendel could be compared to one of the most nerve-racking serial killers there was, Jeffrey Dahmer. The reasons for comparing these two are because they both are very evil and were completely fine with taking innocent lives, they both eat people, they were both caught in the action of their crime. Grendel and Dahmer have very much of the same past, and very similar to each other when it comes to their crime.

You can easily say that both these monsters are substantially evil. Most people could compare these two because they both killed innocent people without feeling guilty of anything. An example of how Grendel showed no emotion in killing people is… “He slipped through the door and there in the silence Snatched up thirty men, smashed them Unknowing in their beds, and ran out with their bodies, The blood dripping behind him…” (Raffel pg. 22 lines 36-39). This shows how he is evil because he just walks himself into other peoples villages and kills and leaves. Dahmer killed people because he wanted to have power over them. Which if you put two and two together you can see that Grendel did the same thing, he killed people because he wanted the satisfaction that he was more powerful than everyone because he could take their lives with no problem.

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Another reason you could compare these two monsters together is that they were both cannibals. Grendel and Dahmer didn’t only find satisfaction in murdering people but eating them after they were dead. Dahmer was one of the biggest cannibals in the 1970’s, “Since 1978 when he was 18, Dahmer had murdered and dismembered 17 boys and men. All of them, he said, had agreed to engage in sexual activity with him. The youngest was 14.”. This is just like Grendel because, “Grendel will carry our bloody Flesh to the moors, crunch on our bones, And smear torn scraps of our skin on the walls Of his den.”(Raffel pg. 25 lines 181-184). Their main goal was to capture people, kill them, then eat them. They are very similar in the fact that they wanted to eat the people.

The last example of why they are very similar is that they were both caught in their crime. Beowulf kills Grendel when he came into the hall to kill the peasants. Dahmer was also caught, “Dahmer was taken into custody in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on July 22, 1991, after the police came to his apartment and found photos depicting human mutilations, which led to the discovery of skulls and body parts.”This is similar to Grendel because, “Beowulf, A prince of the Geats, had killed Grendel, Ended the grief, the sorrow, the suffering” (Raffel pg. 34 lines 510-512). Both of these monsters were caught and both suffered for what they did.

Grendel can be compared to Dahmer because they both had very similar pasts. So basically you can compare these two by the fact that they are evil, cannibals, and were both caught. Both of these monsters have no empathy for anyone or anything, they killed because they were able to and because they wanted to. It was easy for them because they had the power to do the crime they committed. If monsters were real, you could easily agree that Grendel deserved to be killed and just like Dahmer, put in jail.


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