Stone Washington
Beowulf and America 2015
By Stone Washington
January 4, 2015

Fate often saves an undoomed man when his courage is good.

~ Beowulf

The Call to Battle

My inaugural essay for the New Year of 2015 is on the heroic Danish epic known as Beowulf (c. 700–1000 A.D.). The saga begins with the honoring of the death of Scyld Scefing, the great founder of the original line of Danish kings. Typical of pagan Viking funerals, the king is burned atop a pyre on a treasure filled ship adrift the sea on his voyage to the Underworld. His descendant, Hrothgar now rules the Danes within Heorot or The Great Hall – from antiquity the center of Dane government and culture. But soon a hellish beast named Grendel (a primitive human, not an animal), descended from Cain, is reported to have killed thirty men in Heorot while they slept, having been drawn by their Christian songs. While the king's throne is protected from Grendel by the Holy Spirit of God, the Danish King Hrothgar is left helpless to prevent this constant, indiscriminate slaughter of his people. This narrative is reminiscent of the Greek myth of Perseus's stepfather: King Acrisius of Argos who in a rage kills his wife Danaë for having slept with Zeus producing a demigod child, Perseus. Struck down by Zeus in revenge King Acrisus makes a pact with Hades who gives him a portion of his power making Acrisius invincible to men and sworn to kill Perseus and stop him from killing Medusa and the Kraken, the foundation of Hades' power, and rescuing Andromeda.

Who will be the champion to deliver the Danes from the evil rampages of Grendel? Beowulf, a warrior of hailing from the Geats tribe of southern Sweden, takes up the challenge and sails with 14 men to defeat the sinister ogre Grendel. Beowulf is known to be the strongest man on earth and attributes his immense strength as a direct gift from God. All in Hrothgar's Hall acknowledge Beowulf heroism and worthiness except for the warrior, Unferth, who since they were children has nurtured a growing jealously of Beowulf, and thus speaks insultingly against the Dane. Beowulf laughs at this and proclaims that if Unferth were courageous he would have ended Grendel's massacre before now.

As nightfall arrives, Beowulf begins to set up an elaborate trap for Grendel in the form of a large party celebrated by the Geats full of loud drinking, songs, and merriment. Suddenly Grendel bursts through the tavern and savagely attacks the Geats, ripping their limbs apart and devouring them like a bloodthirsty beast. Grendel then tackles Beowulf and the two wrestle each other through the hall. Beowulf stands his ground and grasps the arm of the beast and begins to pull with all his strength until amazingly Grendel's arm is ripped out of its socket. Fatally injured, Grendel dashes out of the hall leaving a large trail of blood in his midst. The beast returns to his home deep in the swampland, where he finally bleeds to death.

Beowulf's Second Battle – Grendel's Mother

Later in King Hrothgar's castle the Geats host a great feast to commemorate Beowulf's slaying of Grendel. Displays Grendel's arm aloft as a trophy Beowulf is honored with many cheers from the crown, gifts of gold and silver by the kingdom. On the other hand, Grendel's mother (the "water witch") is filled with rage for the death of her son and swears revenge against Beowulf and the Danes. Soon the water witch ambushes Hrothgar's hall and kills all of the warriors present at the time. Word of this reaches Beowulf and King Hrothgar once again seek the protection of the mighty Geat. Beowulf once again accepts the call for battle and journeys by horseback aided by a group of his brave soldiers toward the lair of Grendel's mother. The cave is said to be at the bottom of a lake infested with fiery sea serpents and Beowulf is found to be the only man brave enough to venture into. The warrior swims under the sea toward the multiple sea serpents and slices apart a group of them with his sword, narrowly escaping their clutches by getting pulled into an undersea cave by Grendel's mother. Inside the cave Grendel's mother violently strikes at the Geat with her sharp claws. Beowulf is relentlessly assaulted by the creature and is virtually helpless when his sword (from Unferth) is unable to injure the beast. All hope of survival seems lost until Beowulf stumbles upon a large sword forged by giants. As Grendel's mother closes in for the coup de grâce, Beowulf, like Perseus vs. Medusa from Greek mythology, swings the sword decisively across the creature's neck, severing its head.

Meanwhile, time passes, and the citizens of the hall of King Hrothgar presume that Beowulf has died in his quest. Spirits are dismal in the kingdom until suddenly Beowulf returns to the castle carrying head of Grendel. Happiness and festivity spread throughout the lands as Beowulf is crowned champion once again. Hrothgar vows peace between the Danes and the Geats. Beowulf then returns to his homeland only to embark on a large-scale war over the Swedish throne. Beowulf and his allies are victorious in their epic battle fought on ice at Lake Vänern. King Hygelac (Beowulf's uncle) is crowned the new king of Sweden and grants Beowulf great bounties of gold, land and a precious sword after he tells the king of his heroic deeds in the far off Danish land. However, the reign of Hygelac is cut short as he and his son are eventually killed by the Swedes, leaving Beowulf to be crowned to rule over the kingdom for 50 years.

Beowulf's Third and Final Battle – The Dragon

Time passes, peace remains in the lands during Beowulf's sovereignty. Elsewhere in the land of Geats, there is an "exiled sinner" who strays down a secret path leading to a cave filled with an enormous heap of treasure. He takes for himself some beautiful golden goblets, unaware that he is stealing from a gigantic sleeping dragon that guards the treasure. After a 300 year slumber the Dragon awakens in fury knowing that it has been robbed and flies out of the cave. (This is reminiscent of the dragon Smaug in the J.R.R. Tolkien's classic, The Hobbit whose movie version sequel is The Desolation of Smaug). Unleashes it's horrible flames, the Dragon descends upon the land of the Geats every night, burning everything in its path; leaving the cities decimated. Beowulf finds his homeland ravaged and fears that this is a punishment by God.

He sets out with 11 warriors toward the Dragon's cave to slay the beast and end his fiery desolation. The Dragon emerges from the cave with a breath of fire blown at Beowulf, who in turn blocks the blast with his iron shield, incinerating it to pieces. This causes his men to run away at the sight of the vicious beast. All the men escape, except the youngest of them, Wiglaf, who vows to fight for his king to death. Beowulf strikes the Dragon with his sword, bouncing off the Dragon's rock-solid scales. The Dragon then bites into the warrior's neck, causing Beowulf to scream from the poisoned wound. Wiglaf then intervenes and stabs the Dragon in the stomach, injuring the beast, leaving it open for Beowulf to deliver the final stab blow with his knife, killing the Dragon once and for all. As a dying wish Beowulf asks Wiglaf to bring him a handful of the treasure that they won in the epic battle. After Wiglaf shows him the treasure Beowulf smiles at the bounty and thanks God for the treasure. He then succumbs to the poison wound and dies, leaving Wiglaf to tell his heroic tale for the Ages.

Beowulf Today

Beowulf remains a timeless tale and a significant literary symbol even in modern times. The warrior Beowulf represents America, the greatest and strongest country in the history of the world (just as Beowulf is the strongest man of his Age). America has won many battles and proven its mettle countless times through the deliverance of God. But no foe is as treacherous as with the evolution of Communism, which in the story of Beowulf is representative through the villains of Grendel, Grendel's mother, and the Dragon. Grendel represents Communism/Socialism in its purest form, as he is pure evil incarnate, savagely killing humans upon a hateful whim. Similar to this communism is a form of governance that is controlled solely by the rule of the few, in a sense that all citizens are insensible slaves and helpless under the all-powerful notions of a dictator. (Stalin's infamous aphorism: "In order the make an omelet you have to break a few eggs"). Grendel was a dictator over the Danes through fear and slaughter, until Beowulf disarmed the beast causing it to die upon its wound. America has successfully stomped out and triumphed over Communism in the past (i.e. the Cold War), but has failed to kill it, allowing Communism to re-emerge (or evolve as a Darwinists would put it) under Russia's Vladimir Putin into a new a dark era of international Socialism.

Here Grendel's mother is representative of Marxism through the fact that the classes of proletariat and bourgeoisie remain at odds with one another, leading way for the inevitable "solution" of Socialism, death of private property and everyone owning the things of everyone else... thus nobody owns anything! Grendel's mother saw that her son was dead and decided that all men should share her pain, regardless of their involvement in the death of Grendel. All citizens share suffering in Socialism (Sir Winston Churchill called Socialism "the equal sharing of misery").

Finally the Dragon, the most powerful of the three enemies, is the symbol of Liberalism in America. For Liberalism is stronger of a threat to America because it is an enemy America has never truly defeated or rejected; it has poisoned the U.S. with its Progressive Revolution for over 100 years now. This history is similar to how the Dragon planted its poison fangs into Beowulf. Thankfully America has not been destroyed, but like Beowulf we are gradually dying from the self-destructive venom that is Liberal-Socialism-Progressivism, the intellectual descendants of Communism and Marxism. For if one thoroughly analyzes all three systems you should make the conclusion that all are diabolically intertwined, just as with the blind evils of the Dragon, Grendel, and Grendel's Mother. Americans must slay the Dragon known as Liberalism, before it fully consumes the nation with rising national debt, welfare recipients, illegal immigrant anarchy, and inflated Healthcare expenditures through Obamacare, which in reality is CommunistCare, which historically, irrevocably leads to genocide.

© Stone Washington


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Stone Washington

Stone Washington is a PhD student in the Trachtenberg School at George Washington University. Stone is employed as a Research Fellow for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, focusing on economic policy as part of the Center for Advancing Capitalism. Previously, he completed a traineeship with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He was also a Research Assistant at the Manhattan Institute, serving as an extension from his time in the Collegiate Associate Program. During this time, he worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Clemson's Department of Political Science and served as a WAC Practicum Fellow for the Pearce Center for Professional Communication. Stone is also a member of the Steamboat Institute's Emerging Leaders Council.

Stone possesses a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration from Clemson University, a Juris Master from Emory University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Clemson University. While studying at Emory Law, Stone was featured in an exclusive JM Student Spotlight, highlighting his most memorable law school experience. He has completed a journalism fellowship at The Daily Caller, is an alumnus of the Young Leader's Program at The Heritage Foundation, and served as a former student intern/Editor for Decipher Magazine. Some of Stone's articles can be found at, which often provide a critical analysis of prominent works of classical literature and its correlations to American history and politics. Stone is a member of the Project 21 Black Leadership Network, and has written a number of policy-related op-eds for the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, The College Fix, Real Clear Policy, and City Journal. In addition, Stone is listed in the Marquis Who's Who in America and is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society. Friend him on his Facebook page, also his Twitter handle: @StoneZone47 and Instagram. Email him at


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