The story of Beowulf is full of religious references and symbolism, but is it truly a Christian story? According to the narrative, Beowulf is an instrument of God, an instrument of righteousness called by God to perform His will for the Danes. In stark contrast to his good, is the enemy, Grendel, the incarnation of pure evil. These two characters appear to represent the forces of good versus the forces of evil. It would be easy enough to leave the story that way, but it appears that Beowulf is written intentionally to make the main characters appear more important by adding Biblical references to the narrative. By creating characters of a Biblical stature, the story as a whole has an added importance.
This gruesome creature was called Grendel,
notorious prowler of the borderland, ranger of the moors,
the fen and the fastness; this cursed creature
lived in a monster’s lair for a time
after the Creator had condemned him
as one of the seed of Cain – the Everlasting Lord
avenged Abel’s murder. Cain had
no satisfaction from that feud, but the Creator
sent him into exile, far from mankind
because of his crime. He could no longer
approach the throne of grace, that precious place
in God’s presence, nor did he feel God’s love. (102-113)
Grendel is likened to Cain in this passage, but he seems to show characteristics of the devil as well. He is called a prowler. This seems to point to the New Testament scripture in 1 Peter 5:8 where it says, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” This characteristic can be seen through the narrative as well. When the warriors slept this wicked creature would come and murder them without any remorse.
It may be that at one point Grendel was a human much like Beowulf. “Yet, so as to save his life, he left behind his hand, his arm