Beowulf Themes Goodness conquers evil

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Beowulf Themes

  1. Goodness conquers evil. (Beowulf, of course, represents goodness; the three monsters that he slays represent evil.)

  2. Actions (Beowulf's) speak louder than words (Unferth's).  

  3. Judge the greatness of a human being by the greatness of his deeds and his noble ancestry.

  4. Help thy neighbor. (Beowulf risks his life to help a neighbor, King Hrothgar, in trouble.)

  5. Forces of darkness–irrational and menacing–are always at work in society.

  6. Life is a continuing struggle. After Beowulf defeats Grendel, Grendel's mother seeks revenge. Beowulf kills her. Eventually, in old age, he faces still another challenge, this time from a dragon. He kills the dragon, too, but suffers a mortal wound. After he dies, new troubles loom on the horizon in the form of wars with neighboring tribes (That isn’t in your book.) There’s always something!

  7. To be loyal is to selflessly make sacrifices for a loved one. (Wiglaf to Beowulf, Beowulf to Hrothgar)

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