Beowulf fights Grendel’s mother in her deep underwater lair. It is located in a building with a high arch. An ancient sword made by giants hangs on the wall as if waiting for Beowulf to use it. All of these objects and details bear symbolic meaning.
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Many epic heroes had to travel to the underworld to kill a monster or to save their beloved ones. The lair of Grendel’s mother symbolizes Hell. It was dark, dangerous, and uncanny. Still, there is a deeper meaning: to become a hero, one shall defeat their own negative traits and fears. In these terms, the monster’s underwater hall represents Beowulf’s soul with his inner demon.
Beowulf entered the “hellish turn-hole and yet the water did not work against him because the hall-roofing held off the force of the current.” Despite the turmoil of emotion that resides in each of us, the “roofing” of logic and common sense holds it back. Some parts of the cave were flooded with water. They represent a person’s subconscious thoughts that are unexplored.
Grendel’s mother had lots of various weapons in her lair. But Beowulf noticed only one blade that suited him. The sword was “so huge and heavy of itself only Beowulf could wield it in a battle.” In other words, Beowulf had to find the necessary strength in himself and defeat the monster without any additional help.
When the hero killed Grendel’s mother, “a light appeared and the place brightened.” It means that when someone defeats his inner monster, his mind becomes clear and bright.
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