Beowulf - Good vs. Evil

Beowulf - Good vs. Evil - Madsen1 Andria Madsen Miss...

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Madsen1 Andria Madsen Miss McKimson Senior English 17 December 2006 Good vs. Evil Ever since the beginning of time, good and evil have been an evident theme in many stories. The good usually overcomes the evil, as is assumed. But before the good can overcome the evil, innocence and kindness is lost. People are ruthlessly sacrificed and killed because of someone’s selfish needs. The good character in the story tries his best to help the decency of mankind, and he usually succeeds, but there is a rare case that the good in the story is overcome by evil. Perhaps the good character dies, but the evil never conquers. Evil will eventually fall and yield to the good. Beowulf is a prime example of these circumstances. “Its message is that evil destroys itself; good cannot destroy evil because good cannot destroy” (Beowulf Study Guide). Even if the good character dies in the act of fighting for what is true, he still dies in honor and righteousness. “Tabula rasa (Latin: scraped tablet or clean slate ) refers to the epistemological thesis that individual human beings are born with no innate or built-in mental content, in a word, "blank", and that their entire resource of knowledge is built up gradually from their experiences and sensory perceptions of the outside world” (Wikipedia). This theory states that no one person is born evil, but they learn from what takes place around them. If someone is raised in a kind, loving family, chances are they will develop into an affectionate, caring person. On the other hand, if someone is brought up around anger and violence, they might think that is normal behavior and start to act that way on their own. Some people believe that a human’s personality
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Madsen2 or behavior is predetermined. The person is either born good or bad. These people think that no matter what happens in the person’s life, they won’t change. But how does one know that something hasn’t happened in an individual’s life to make them the way they are? How does one know if something life-altering happened to that person to make them the way they are? An individual becomes what they want to become, so no one person is to say what makes a person them self. There is no scientific evidence to prove why people become the way they are. Only the environment they put themselves into can determine that. “Light and darkness are closely associated throughout the poem, symbolizing the forces of good and evil, heaven and hell” (Bookrags). Some symbolic meanings of goodness have been made known through objects, actions, and expressions. The most reoccurring symbol of good is light. The good characters in stories are usually associated with light and happiness, making everyone and everything around them better. Even as far back as the Bible, Jesus was known as the “light of the world”. In the story, light may be an undertone in the mood of an excerpt where
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This essay was uploaded on 04/21/2008 for the course HUMAN 101 taught by Professor Stein during the Spring '08 term at Prairie State College .

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Beowulf - Good vs. Evil - Madsen1 Andria Madsen Miss...

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