Man has always faced hardships to survive. In the early Middle Ages the epic poem Beowulf, personifies the trials of man in the form of three monsters that had to be defeated. These three monsters each represent the impurities of man and of the world. With each battle the monsters become more difficult to battle, and are more powerful than the last. Ultimately Beowulf is defeated. But it is a struggle that becomes important. .
Grendel is the first monster described in Beowulf. Grendel possesses the mark of Cain. In the Book of Genesis, Cain murdered his brother Abel. Grendel is a descendent of Cain's hatred. "He had dwelt for a time in misery among the banished monsters, Cain's clan, whom the Creator had outlawed and condemned as outcasts" (35, line 104-107).
At night Grendel would sneak up to the hall and attack the men. He would wait until they became so drunk and all their inhibitions were gone, that they had no ability to protect themselves. "Grendel set out for the lofty house, to see how the Ring-Danes were settling into it after their drink, and there he came upon them"(35, line 115-119). .
It was a collective fear for Grendal; it was not just one person who feared him. Grendel's superhuman size, strength, and hostility much resembled the popular fictional idea of Satan. "Malignant in nature, he never showed remorse"(35 line 137).
In line 425, Beowulf asks permission to "purify Heorot" and slay Grendel. When Beowulf fights with Grendel, he is revenging all the people Grendel killed. When they come face to face, it is strength versus strength. Beowulf uses no weapons. He slays Grendal with the strength of his hand." Hand-to-hand is how it will be, a life-and-death fight with the fiend"(41, line 138-139).
The next monster Beowulf faces is Grendel's mother. She vows to revenge her son and kill Beowulf. "She has taken up the feud because of last night when you killed Grendel"(62, line 1333-1334).