Revenge isn’t so sweet: Revenge as a motivator in Beowulf
To have any chance at winning, one must always be motivated. Motivation provides the inspiration, drive and purpose that propel people to victory. Without motivation, progress is not made and battles are not won. Throughout the epic poem Beowulf, the characters use revenge as their inspiration to compete in various battles. Grendel, his mother, and even Beowulf himself all use revenge during the fights that they engage in, in order to motivate themselves throughout the poem.
Grendel is the first character in the poem that the reader can see inspired by revenge. It is stated that Grendel is believed to be one of the descendants of Cain, forever banished by God in punishment for Abel’s death. "…Since Cain had killed his only / Brother, slain his father's son / With an angry sword. God drove him off, / outlawed him…" (Beowulf, 1261 - 1264). To Grendel, Heorot is the representation of the world of men that he hates. Being an outcast of society, Grendel cannot participate in the festivities of Heorot and is tormented by the good timing that occurs within its walls. The envy that Grendel feels towards the Danes is what drives him to the point of revenge.
In the article, “Symbolic Kinship and Secret Identity” Baird is quoted as stating, “deprivation, ‘motivates the hostility of the monster against the race of men, he is driven to destroy what he cannot share.’” (Acosta, 49) Grendel gets his revenge by the death and
destruction of the men who represent what he can’t have: success, joy, glory, and favor in the eyes of God.
For Grendel’s mother, revenge takes on a much more specific task of avenging the death of her only son. "But a monster still lived, and meant revenge. / She'd brooded on her loss, misery had brewed / In her heart, that female horror…"(Beowulf, 1257 - 1259). Propelled by a mother’s rage, she sets out to get even with the men who killed her son. "And her greed, drove her from her...