Monsters & Heroes Defeated Alike
In the ‘retelling’ of ‘Beowulf’ by Gareth Hinds, King Hrothgar tells Beowulf the following after they slays Grendal and the monster’s Mother:
‘Take thou, therefore, good heed, O Beowulf,
against pride and arrogance.
Choose the better path: profit eternal.
Now, indeed, thou art in the pride of thy strength and the power of youth;
but there will come of a surety, sooner or later,
either sickness or the sword;
fire shall consume thee or the floods swallow thee up.
Be it bite of blade or brandished spear, or odious age,
or the eyes’ clear beam grown dull and leaden.
Come in what shape it may; death will subdue even thee, thou hero of war.’
Grendal and his Mother too assumed they were invincible, just as Beowulf did. Often, we become great monsters or great heroes when we think we are undefeatable. Yet, unless one is a true conqueror, a Buddha, no one can conquer ageing, sickness and death. The path of spirituality, that quells pride and arrogance is the one that profits eternal. Of course, like all good cautionary tales of old, Hrothgar’s prophesy-like warning did come true in time, according to the legend.
The Dharma of the ‘Beowulf’ Myth (Movie Review)