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Analysis Of ' Grendel And The Epic Of Beowulf '

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Merriam Webster defines a hero as a person who is admired for great or brave acts and defines a villain as a character who does bad things. These definitions may not be so indubitable as John Gardner takes a hero and villain to a whole new level in his novel, Grendel. Throughout the years of novels and short stories, heroes and villains have been constructed as strictly good versus evil, but what if there is good in evil and evil in good? Grendel and the epic, Beowulf, revolve around this idea of heroes and villains and good versus evil. Gardner’s twist on the stereotypical hero leads to the true definition of a hero being changed as he creates one who has a nihilistic view on his atypical life. A hero in the eyes of the Anglo-Saxons has superman strength, undertakes a great quest which relates to society’s values, battles a great monster, and is required to pay homage to a god. Beowulf makes it black and white on whom the hero and villain are; Beowulf being the wonderful hero who kills the inimical villain, Grendel. Gardner’s novel, Grendel, has a skewed view on who the hero and villain Gardner uses the villain from Beowulf and creates a novel around him and his viewpoints on his world. However Grendel fits almost perfectly into the characteristics of a hero, according to the Anglo-Saxons. He posses super strength which is demonstrated through the altercations he has with man. In fact, man is Grendel’s evil or villain. Chapter one includes examples to prove Grendel’s
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