The epic poem Beowulf, written in Old English by Christian monks around 750 AD, is a wonderful adventure story about a warrior who kills ferocious monsters. The use of description and imagery enlivens the story, making it possible for a reader to really see in his or her mind the characters and events. Metaphors, exaggeration, and alliteration are three devices that together allow the reader to experience this poem which is quite different than most other poetry. In Beowulf, the hero overcomes three horrendous evils. First, he destroyed the monster called Grendel who had a appetite for human flesh. Next, Beowulf dove to deep fathoms and assassinated Grendel's mother. In his last battle, Beowulf slayed a fire spewing dragon that threatened his kingdom. Those evils that Beowulf triumphed over where physically threatening evils that still exist to this day. But the worst evils in modern times are the intangible evils that are manifested in many forms. The big question is, can we as a society triumph over these evils like Beowulf or will we fall prey to desolate and dreary view that is our tattered future.
When Beowulf heard of a monster tearing through the mead hall called Herot and eating men of good credence, he immediately set sail for the distant shores to avenge those men. In line 121, the text states "The bravest and best of the Geats, fourteen in all". This line describes Beowulf's selection of warriors for the expedition. When Beowulf arrived he waited for Grendel and defeated him as shown in line 260. Line 260 states "eyes were watching his evil steps". After that, Beowulf traveled to the "lake that burns like a torch" (line 432) and defeated Grendel's mother under the dark lake. Lastly, Beowulf showed his bravery for the last time in his battle with the dragon. In line 620, Beowulf displays this courage by saying, "I mean to stand, not run from his shooting flames.