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Beowulf The Supernatural 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.

Quote #1

Then a powerful demon, a prowler through the dark,
nursed a hard grievance. It harrowed him
to hear the din of the loud banquet
every day in the hall, the harp being struck
and the clear song of a skilled poet
telling with mastery of man's beginnings. (86-91)

The first adversary in Beowulf is no mere man, but a supernatural demon, angered by the very mention of God's creation. Notice that the supernatural elements in Beowulf are intermingled with the religious ones. Grendel is an ogre-like creature, but also a demon with a part (albeit a negative one) to play in a Christianized world.

Quote #2

So times were pleasant for the people there
until finally one, a fiend out of hell,
began to work his evil in the world.
Grendel was the name of this grim demon
haunting the marches, marauding round the heath
and the desolate fens; he had dwelt for a time
in misery among the banished monsters,
Cain's clan, whom the creator had outlawed
and condemned as outcasts. (99-107)

Grendel is much like a creature out of a horror movie or a Stephen King novel – a demonic, hellish fiend, embodying all that is evil.

Quote #3

All were endangered; young and old
were hunted down by that dark death-shadow
who lurked and swooped in the long nights
on the misty moors; nobody knows
where these reavers from hell roam on their errands. (159-163)

Grendel's rampages seem more sinister than regular murders because of his uncanny ability to come and go unseen in the night.

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