As a very historically significant literary work, "Beowulf,"
illustrates many critical insights into the time period in which it was
written. In this specific scene, there are many significant points concerning
the legend of Beowulf and also the time period it was written. A significant
portrayal in this scene is the description and background of Grendel and
Grendel's mother. Also, the scene illustrates the strength and death-defying
nature of warriors of the time period, they were warriors who were dedicated
to strict customs and traditions, and have very little or no fear of death.
Another significant issue raised in this scene is certain rules and customs
that warriors possessed at this time, most importantly that of revenge
This scene serves to greatly intensify the story, in that the arrival of Grendel's mother has brought about a feud that essentially defines the epic. Grendel and Grendel's mother bring to the story a sense of a beastly, murderous force. Most significantly, Grendel and his mother cause a discrepancy in that Grendel's parent figure is his mother rather than his father. This fact serves to disassociate Grendel and his mother from the human warriors in the story, and at a time where men lived in the shadow of their father, this is quite strange. Hrothgar explains this family structure when he says "They know of no father, in earlier times any was begotten for then among the dark spirits." (24) The unnatural ora surrounding Grendel's and his mother's existence make the pair extremely difficult to comprehend or analyze. One factor that might explain Grendel's strange ancestry is the fact that he is a descendent of Cain, and through this one could argue that Grendel's ancestry is cursed due to Cain originating slaying of one's own family member.
"Beowulf" serves to depict very clearly many customs, beliefs,
and traditions of the Anglo-Saxon time period, and these elements shine
greatly in this specific scene. Whether it is the power and death-defying
nature of the warriors, or the alien force of creatures such as Grendel
and Grendel's mother, we see the great power of the Beowulf epic to illustrate
the time period at hand.