Beowulf is the most famous epic of the Anglo-Saxon period. This is a story of an epic hero who fights against the most sinister monsters known to man. Beowulf and Grendel are the main characters of this tale; they are the perfect example of good versus evil, light versus dark, and hero versus villain. Beowulf is the story all epic hero stories have followed; the Beowulf with his hero qualities goes head to head with Grendel. Heroes and villains share a lot of qualities but a number of key characteristics set them apart.
Heroes as well as villains above all are abnormal; they share their own specific goals and are often very intelligent and capable of achieving what they want or need to achieve.
Both types of these individuals are often warrior like and of unique or even divine like powers and weapons. Despite sharing these characteristics they are not similar in their desires. Heroes fight on the side of right, they fight for the good of man and they fight for the safety of society.
Villains fight for evil; they do not care about innocent people being injured by their actions and only seek self satisfaction. Villains recklessly murder anyone who gets in their way and the only ones who can stop them are heroes like Beowulf.
Beowulf is a shining example of an epic hero who fights against the evils of the Geats. Beowulf is a warrior who praises god and aims to kill the monsters that plague his people. “Bravest and the best of the Geats,” Beowulf is a superhuman warrior who is out to kill the likes of Grendel for fame and glory. Grendel is the most sinister monster known to the Geats, he strikes fear into their hearts because of what he has done to innocent people. Grendel is an ugly and despicable monster who “has hands forged in hell” (ll. 64).
Grendel is the enemy of mankind and specifically Beowulf, he is the “shadow of death” and lusts for evil (ll. 74). The conflict between Grendel and Beowulf is not one that is just a battle of fame or pleasure but one of righteousness and wrong. Beowulf must defeat Grendel for all of the evil he has committed and to honor those who have died defending themselves from this creature born in the depths of hell.