Beowulf the great Anglo-Saxon epic, which was composed around the year 700, presents readers with a glimpse into the life of Anglo-Saxons. Beowulf, written in poetic form, was translated by Burton Raffel. The tone of the epic is somber and relates the achievements of the hero Beowulf. This epic poem displays many contrast between good and evil. Goodness is represented throughout the poem by the characters of Beowulf, King Hrothgar, Wiglaf, and their actions.
Beowulf, portraying many good qualities, is the ultimate example of a hero. His acts of goodness are shown through his efforts to free King Hrothgars hall from the wrath of Grendel, then of Grendels mother and finally in his old age an evil dragon. King Hrothgars love for his people and overall goodness is shown at the welcoming of Beowulf into his kingdom. Wiglaf was a Geat warrior and one of Beowulfs chosen band. Wiglaf is portrayed as good because of his decision to risk his life for Beowulf.
When all of Beowulfs chosen band of Geats left him in his final battle with the dragon, Wiglaf was the only one that choose to stay and help his great King. In contrast, the characters of Grendel, Grendels mother, and the dragon, represent evil throughout the poem. Grendel is the main representation of evil in the epic poem. He is a man-eating monster who haunted the halls of Herot for twelve years. Grendels mother attacks Herot out of grief for her son.
Beowulf was called upon again to free Herot from the evilness of Grendels mother. The dragon was up roared by a common thief who stole a cup from his fortune. He in return haunted Beowulfs people. Beowulf fought his last battle with the dragon. The epic poem Beowulf encompasses all aspects of a great tale. Beowulf, King Hrothgar, and Wiglaf represent good in the poem whereas, Grendel, his mother, and the dragon portray the contrasting side of evil. Throughout the epic poem Beowulf one encounters many instances of good versus evil.