In Beowulf, the conflict between good and evil is the poem's main and most important aspect. The poet makes it clear that good and evil do not exist as only opposites, but that both qualities are present in everyone. Beowulf represents the ability to do good, or to perform acts selflessly and in help of others. Goodness is also showed throughout this epic as having the ability to cleanse evil. Even though evil is presented by Grendel, Grendel's mother, and the dragon, who a refilled with a desire to act against people and ultimately destroy them. Even pride, a human quality, is presented in Beowulf as a sign that evil exists.
Beowulf takes it upon himself to announce several great deeds that he will perform to help countries in need. One of these deeds is his offer to King Hrothgar, in which he proposes to slay Grendel. Beowulf states,'s ingle-handed I'll settle the strife!' In this statement, Beowulf is simply stating that he will kill this evil creature, Grendel. Another selfless act Beowulf states is that he will slay Grendel's mother. Beowulf declares, 'And I give you pledge, She (Grendel's mother) shall not in safety escape to cover.' Beowulf promises to see to it that Grendel's mother will be killed.
After Beowulf becomes king in Geatland, he shows his great ability once more by pledging to kill the fire-dragon. 'The ring-prince scorned to assault the dragon,' the poet said. Beowulf is said to have pledged to kill the dragon, which has caused a disturbance among his people. These selfless acts offered by Beowulf display much of the goodness that is present in Beowulf. Goodness is not only portrayed by selfless acts, but also by it's ability to purge and cleanse evil. This is first shown after Beowulf slays Grendel.
The poet says, ' (Beowulf) Had purged of evil the hall of Hrothgar, and cleansed of crime; the heart of the hero.' The good done by Beowulf is shown to have the ability to cleanse Herot of evil. Another example of good cleansing evil occurs after Beowulf had slayed both Grendel and Grendel's mother, and is departing to fight his final battle. The poet states, 'Purged of evil the hall of Hrothgar and crushed out Grendel's loathsome kin.' By destroying both Grendel and Grendel's mother, Beowulf has purified hall of Hrothgar of all evils. Furthermore Beowulf announces that he will rid Herot of evil.
Beowulf says, 'That I may alone with my loyal earls, with this hardly company, cleanse Hart-Hall.' Beowulf means to eliminate all evils inherit, and to purify it. The ability goodness has to cleanse evil is very visible in Beowulf. Evil is represented in Beowulf partly through the creatures in it. Evils first shown by the monster Grendel. ' (Grendel) Slew asleep in the hall, sped away gloating, gripping the spoil,' the poet declares. Grendel enjoyed killing these spear men, making him Beowulf's first evil creature.
Another evil beast in Beowulf is Grendel " smother. The poet describes her as 'a monstrous hag,' giving the idea that she, like her son, represents evil.' The fire-dragon also symbolizes evil. ' (The dragon) Burned the bright dwellings-the glow of the blaze filled hearts with horror,' the poet states. The fire-dragon's goal is to strike fear into the hearts of the people ofGeatland showing that he is clearly an evil creature. Creatures in Beowulf make up much of the evil that is displayed through the entire poem.
Evil is also portrayed in Beowulf as pride. Hrothgar gives Beowulf along lecture warning him about the dangers of pride. He says,' And evil assails not-until in his heart Pride overpowering gathers and grows.' Hrothgar is warning Beowulf not to allow devilish pride to grow in his heart in soul. Hrothgar adds, 'Since God has granted him glory and wealth he forgets the future, unmindful of Fate.' Hrothgar is telling Beowulf to use the power God has given him well, but not to forget the future for death could be near. Hrothgar concludes his advice to Beowulf on pride by again warning him of the perils of pride. He suggests, 'Beware of pride! Now for a time you shall feel the fullness And know the glory of strength, but soon sickness or sword shall strip you of that might.' Hrothgar now is telling Beowulf not to think of himself invincible because as soon as that happens, his body may fail him and it is too late to make up for evil things he has done.
In Beowulf, pride is presented as an evil, with fatal consequences. Good and evil are both very apparent throughout Beowulf. Good represented by both selfless acts completed by Beowulf as well as its ability to cleanse evil. The evil creatures that Beowulf faces a swell as pride together show the evil in the poem. Together they portray Beowulf's most important aspect, the conflict between good and evil.