Analysis Of John Gardner 's ' Beowulf '

1009 Words Sep 19th, 2016 5 Pages
John Gardner offers an alternate interpretation of the old english epic “Beowulf” by narrating the experiences of the monster Grendel, after whom the book is named. Grendel conveys himself as a homicidal, ravenous beast, only capable of destruction and chaos. Therefore, one can conclude that Grendel is indeed evil, and that he well deserves the cessation of his existence. However, depending on the philosophical ideologies and the relative perspective one finds self in, they may conclude differently. Nevertheless, the reader may likely to find one’s self both sympathizing with, and scorning Grendel, because, as the 10th century old english monster says, “balance is everything”.
Evil, like many other things we humans take as absolutes, is ultimately a matter of perspective. President Barack Obama once said “...evil is senseless. It’s beyond reason”. Senselessness immorality often coincide in topics surrounding evil. However, as many philosophers and political thinkers alike question, “what defines morality”? A Nihilist may think that “all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated”, nor would one have “ [any] purpose, other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy” (Pratt). Grendel has a nihilistic epiphany early in his life, when he narrates “I understood that the world was nothing: a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears” (Garder 21-22). Grendel also performs a plethora of destructive acts in the novel,…
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