Beowulf Good vs. Evil Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used Seamus Heaney's Beowulf: A New Verse Translation, published in 2000 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.
In the end each clan on the outlying coasts
beyond the whale-road had to yield to him
and began to pay tribute. That was one good king. (9-11)
So times were pleasant for the people there
until finally one, a fiend out of hell,
began to work his evil in the world. (99-101)
Grendel isn't just the enemy – he's a personification, or maybe that should be monster-fication, of everything that is evil. He's literally a "fiend out of hell," a descendant of Cain, inherently rotten.
"I had a fixed purpose when I put to sea.
As I sat in the boat with my band of men,
I meant to perform to the uttermost
what your people wanted or perish in the attempt,
in the fiend's clutches. And I shall fulfill that purpose,
prove myself with a proud deed
or meet my death here in the mead-hall." (632-638)
It's all or nothing in this fight to the death: the good warrior Beowulf against the evil demon Grendel. Things can't get much more clear cut than that.