Role of supernatural Elements in Beowulf. The supernatural elements are present in Beowulf, but it is oddly complicated.
First, we have the two demons, Grendel and his mother, and the other assorted monsters of the epic – the dragon that Beowulf must fight, the serpentine creatures in the lake, and the sea monsters that Beowulf fought in the past.
And we found the significant role of these monsters in this epic poem. Grendel represents pride, Grendel’s mother represents revenge and anger, and the dragon represents wrath and greed.
Role of supernatural Elements in Beowulf
After the death of shield sheafson, his son Beow took his father’s place. And after his death, Beow’s son Halfdane became the king.
And after him, Hrothgar started to rule on Danes. Under Hrothgar’s rule Danes enjoyed prosperity and great military success.
In the mead hall, Hrothgar and his warriors gathered together, and do other things. For a time, the kingdom enjoyed peace and prosperity. One night in the mead hall, when everyone fell into sleep, Grendel a demon came from Cain.
Grendel came inside the mead hall and slaughtered thirty men. Hrothgar’s warriors were powerless against him. For the next twelve years, Grendel makes chaos in the Danes.
Grendel took control of Heorot. On the other hand, Hrothgar and his warriors are still unable to challenge Grendel. They tried their best to stop Grendel, but they failed, and the Danes were still in terror. Their suffering is so extreme that the news of it spread to other kingdoms.
When Beowulf got the news of the destruction by Grendel, he came to the Danes to give them protection. Hrothgar warned Beowulf that lots of people have died during the battle with the monster. But Beowulf was confident.
At the midnight, Beowulf lays aside his weapons and removes his armor. Beowulf is waiting for Grendel. But the other warriors are in the death fear, they are doubting whether they will still be alive to the dawn or not! In the dark night outside the hall, Grendel is approaching quietly towards them. Then Grendel entered into Heorot.
And started to kill the warriors. Beowulf carefully observed the monster. And when Grendel comes to Beowulf, Grendel was shocked and found out that his arm is locked by Beowulf.
Like a terrified animal, Grendel tried to escape, but Beowulf locked him down. Grendel was in pain and fear, and his voice terrified all who hear it.
The other warriors came and tried to help Beowulf, but no weapon on earth is capable of harming Grendel. At the end of the fight, Beowulf rips Grendel’s arm completely out of its socket.
Injured Grendel retreat from the battle and waits for his death. On the other hand, in the mead hall, Beowulf holds up Grendel’s arm like a trophy, which shows the proof of his victory.
Role of supernatural Elements in Beowulf
Grendel’s mother represents wrath and revenge. Which is why she came to take revenge for Grendel’s death. That night, the warriors sleep in Heorot, and they did not have any idea what kind of danger is waiting for them outside the hall.
When the warriors are sleeping in the mead hall, Grendel’s mother, a horrible monster came for revenge. And when she started her attack, everybody woke up from their sleep. Then the warriors attacked the monster with their shields and swords.
As a result, the monster got panic and flee from heorot. But the monster was carrying her victim. And the victim is Hrothgar’s trusted adviser Aeschere! When all of these things were happening, Beowulf was not present there.
He was in another place, which is away from Heorot. And when Beowulf arrived at Heorot, the monster was already fled from that place. And the warriors also discovered that the monster has also stolen Grendel’s arm.
After this chaos, they go out in the search of the monster. And they found Aeschere’s head on the ground. They got shocked to see this.
And finally, Beowulf found Grendel’s mother. The fight between Beowulf and Grendel’s mother has begun.
She tried to crush Beowulf but somehow he saved himself. The fight took a long, and Beowulf was getting a hard fight. Blow for blow, a fight-to-death battle has begun. And at the end of the fight, Beowulf beheaded her.
Role of Supernatural Elements in Beowulf
If we talk about the role of the dragon, we will find that the dragon represents anger and greed. Many centuries ago a last survivor of an ancient tribe hide this treasure.
And he did not want that no one would be going to use those treasures.
Because for him this treasure is the last symbol of his destroyed tribe. And the dragon is protecting this treasure for the past 300 years.
But now the treasure has been stolen and the dragon is searching for the thief by making chaos and destruction. And Geatland is its next target.
In the battleground, chaos spread everywhere. And during the fight between the dragon and Beowulf, it was clear to everyone that he has no strength like it was before. And the dragon continuously threw flame at them.
All the soldiers of Geatland face the wrath of the dragon. In terror, Beowulf’s warriors are started to retreat from the battleground except for Wiglaf.
On the other hand, Beowulf is fighting with the dragon. He strikes on the dragon’s head with his sword.
But the sword has broken. Then the dragon started its counterstrike, and Beowulf started to bleeding. For his assistance, Wiglaf came and started his attack on the dragon, but the dragon injured him with its fire. Then Beowulf took a knife and stabbed on the dragon’s wing deeply.
The blow was fatal. And the dragon was badly injured and then died.
The three monsters that Beowulf killed, of them, have a symbolic meaning. Grendel and his mother were descended from the biblical figure Cain, the monster Grendel represents the evil of Scandinavian society, who is responsible for brutal killings and murders.
The dragon represents wrath, greed, and self-destruction. Beowulf’s fight with the dragon ended in mutual destruction.
Author: Tonmoy Debnath
Institution: Notre Dame University Bangladesh
Member of ‘Future Writers’