monsters in Beowulf represent the abstract idea of evil, while Beowulf himself symbolizes good. In his quest, Beowulf faces three monsters: Grendel, Grendel's mother, and the fire dragon. Each of these monsters represents darkness, or an evil that exists in the absence of morality and society. Beowulf defeats each of these monsters in turn. The defeat of Grendel even suggests that the defeat of evil is not necessarily dependent upon the intervention of God, as Beowulf himself asserts.
Similar to Shakespeare's understanding of jealousy as a green-eyed monster, each of the monsters in Beowulf represent emotions and abstract ideas. Beowulf himself is a symbol of all of the values of the civilization that produced the poem. He is the epic hero who represents the values of heroism, courage, and strength. Beowulf is a symbol of good pitted against the forces of evil.
The three monsters that Beowulf faces symbolically represent...
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