Evil comparison From the day of our birth parents, teachers and other elders taught us the same thing all the time: what the good and evil is and how to differ and recognize them. In the childhood it seemed easy for us but later when we grew up we understand that it is a very difficult question. It is not easy to define one from another, but if we cant do that, we cant be called grown-up people. In my paper I would like to prove that good and evil are rather contradictory. Lets turn again to the literature to analyze it and try to find the answer. For that I chose the epic Beowulf and The Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. The epic Beowulf, the work, composed in poetic form, acquaints us with the Anglo-Saxons life in 700 due to the translation of Burton Raffel.
While reading the epic one cant but admit that it determines the clear bounds between good and evil by showing different heroes with positive and negative qualities. Beowulf, King Hrothgar, Wiglaf are the positive heroes and represent good. The hero Beowulf embodies so many good qualities that he seems to be the best possible example of an ideal hero.His mission is to save and protect. He saves the King Hrothgar?s hall Grendel, his mother and the dragon. King Hrothgar is generous kind-hearted and positive man, who love his kingdom and his people and always happy to see great heroes in his hall. Boldness and nobleness of Wiglaf is obvious. He was a great soldier faithful to Beowulf, who was the only one who stayed with him in the last battle with the dragon.
Life will always bestow us with choices which we must wisely choose either a moral or immoral response to. Shakespeare exemplifies goodness and wickedness in King Lear. The play presents a powerful manifestation of loyalty, specifically through the characters Kent, Edgar, and Cordelia. Kent’s unrestricted loyalty to Lear remains stable throughout the play. He recognizes Lear’s tragic flaw and ...
In the poem the Evil is also represented by several characters. They are Grendel, Grendel?s mother, and the dragon. Grendel is the brightest character which represents the evil. He is a cannibal who troubled the halls for many years. His mother came to Herot to revenge after the trouble with her son. The man stole the cup from the dragon and he started to attack Beowulf?s people, so Beowulf had to fight him. Here we see the clear simple examples of good and bad.
But one can consider them to be not so simple as it seems at the first sight. For example, Grendels mother came to fight Herot revenging for her son. Some people can say that this is right and natural. The dragon didnt hurt anyone till he was offended by the thief. But still in the epic there is a bound between good and bad: Grendel was a monster and died because of that, so his mother was not right. The dragon also must not kill the innocent people because of the fault of one man. The Twelfth Night is also a fairytale, but it is a fairytale of another epoch, so it is closer to our everyday life.
Here we see no monsters (they were left in the past), but real people with their good qualities and drawbacks. Here there are no ideal heroes. Lets consider them one by one. For example Olivia seems to be the positive hero, but she had been in mourning for too long, that is not right and conflicts with the Bible. People must overcome the difficulties and keep living. Viola deceives Orsino pretending to be a man and begins playing love game, laughing with Olivia, who fell in love with her.
Orsino troubles himself and other having fallen in love with a person, whom he had not ever seen. So, positive heroes seem to be not very positive. On the contrary, Sir Andrew seems to be negative, but at last we can understand him, because he is just a jealous man. Shakespeare uses very interesting method to show the people their mistakes. He created Feste and made him a person without his own interests, but the one who is helping other people to understand the truth about them. He is a bit unusual, but his role is significant.
It seems that it is a writer himself in the person of Feste wants to show the people who imperfect they are and that the concepts of good and evil are too contradictory. Like in many other his works, in The Twelfth Night the famous brilliant writer draws our attention to the psychology. He shows the people as they are and dont define good from bad because as we know there are no extremes in our world. So we see that in Beowulf the good and evil are clearly separated one from another. In The Twelfth Night it is not so, because it was written later and touches the psychological side of our life. I think that it is nice that in our world there is no real good or real evil.
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Good and evil are rather contradictory For us the world is what we want it to be and we must not forget about that. Nobody can help us to understand the world better than literature can do that. The analyzed works are just fairytales but there is much in them to analyze, learn and use in our everyday life.
Greene, Marsha The Epic Beowulf, London 1998 Nash, Martin, Black Karin Shakespeare and the critics, New York 2000.