In the Epic Poems Beowulf, by an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet, and Grendel written by John Gardner, Grendel, regardless of what he does, has been seen as unsafe to man. Grendel, perceived as treacherous, is just misunderstood and an outcast to society. The back story of Grendel is crucial to the reader’s understanding of Grendel becoming a monster. Grendel’s life experiences of his environment, men and meeting a dragon contribute to the drastic change.
Grendel. One of John Gardner’s best novels based on the epic poem, Beowulf. It talks about a war between Grendel and the humans, the Danes, their king Hrothgar and a stranger who appears at the end of the novel, Beowulf himself. Grendel lived with his mother in a cave, isolated from the rest of the world. With time passing by, he became curious about the outside world, so he started to go out to explore, seeing new fascinating things, meeting with the humans which made him even more curious about them, leading into him spying on them during the nights. This turned Grendel into a great observer of human nature and behavior with a high level of insight. But the question is, what exactly did he think of what he observed?
Grendel discovers and begins to gain the understanding/knowledge of different concepts such as power, etc. In addition, he observes how humans interact with one another throughout the twelve years of war; Yet, his attempt to communicate with humans gives him the title horrific monster. This leads to his loneliness and isolation from everyone. Furthermore, Grendel is left without any companion. Grendel can be best described as a monster who has human qualities but can be both rational and irrational. In Chapter 1, Grendel has an outburst because of the ram that appears.. “I stamp. I hammer the ground with my fists. I hurl and skull-size stone at him. He will not budge. I shake my two hairy fists at the sky and let out a howl so unspeakable that the water at my feet turns sudden ice and even I myself am I left uneasy.” This demonstrates how Grendel is hostile and belligerent. His emotions get the best of him and blinds his consciousness and awareness of how harmful he can be towards
In the novel, Grendel by John Gardener, Grendel is a human-like creature capable of rational thought as well as feeling emotions. Early on in the story Gardener depicts Grendel as being very observant, critical and somewhat spiteful of the world around him. He describes himself as a murderous monster who smells of death and crouches in the shadows. Grendel watches the humans from the shadows of the trees and at first it seems as though they are the real monsters, slaughtering and pillaging all for the sake of their leaders and for power. This light that the humans are put in gives Grendel a certain charisma about him, making him seem like the one to side with in this novel. Later in the story, however, things change. Grendel seeks out the
There is a stage in everyone’s life where they feel they are not accepted by someone or something. Whether it is because of one’s age, appearance, or emotional and mental stability, a sense of disproval and isolation appears to be glaring through the eyes of society. Throughout Grendel’s life, he is shunned from humanity for he was viewed as something of destruction and harm. However, not one person ever took the time out to see Grendel’s true personality or really discover what he was all about. When facing the realities of the cruel world, Grendel found himself severely struggling with some psychological deficiencies. After performing multiple psychoanalysis tests on Grendel’s behavior, his
The story of Beowulf is a heroic epic, chronicling the distinguished deeds of the great Geatish warrior, Beowulf, who travels across the seas to rid the Danes of the evil monster Grendel, who has been inflicting destruction and terrorizing the kingdom. Beowulf is glorified for his heroic deeds of ridding the land fiendish monsters and stopping the scourge of evil, while the monster, Grendel, is portrayed as a repugnant creature who deserves death for its evil actions. However, many have disagreed with such a simplistic and biased representation of Grendel and his role in the epic poem. John Gardner in his book, Grendel, sets out to change the reader’s perception of Grendel and his role in Beowulf by narrating the story through Grendel’s point of view. John Gardner transforms Grendel, once perceived as an evil fiend in Beowulf, into a lonely but intelligent outcast who is actually quite similar to humans, due to his intelligence capacity for rational thought and his real, and at times irrational emotions. Gardner portrays Grendel as a hurt individual and as a victim of oppression, ostracized from civilization. Although the two works revolve around the same basic plot,, the themes and characters in Beowulf and Grendel are often different and sometimes contradictory.
Although he describes her as a “life-bloated, baffled, long-suffering hag” (11), Grendel realizes that “she would gladly have given her life to end my [his] suffering… with useless, mindless love” (102). He also believes that “she must have some human in her” (11), furthering Grendel’s character as one that derived from humankind at the very least. The novel acts as a witness to the fact that Grendel did have a childhood. Although his childhood brought on some struggles, this is a part of all life, including that of people. He finds his purpose in life when “at an early age [he] is forced to deal with a brutal and meaningless reality” (Butts) and he begins he finds his purpose. Throughout Gardner’s novel, Grendel tries to learn “how best to deal with the world” (Butts). As Grendel grows up, he learns from and is influenced by many different people who act as his teachers and role models. These interactions are Grendel’s closest alternative to the relations that the average human has. Grendel has three unique influences in his life: his mother, the Shaper, and the dragon. Grendel views his mother with disgust and she provides the inspiration and motivation for him to do better with his own life. The Shaper’s influence brings out Grendel’s ability of
In the novel, Grendel, the images of isolation and darkness enhanced the character development of Grendel as he encountered loneliness, developed hatred, and became evil. Isolation and darkness were two important images used throughout the novel. In the beginning, baby Grendel was an innocent being. Initially, he did not kill humans for fun, and he only killed animals for food. With each image of isolation and darkness being portrayed, Grendel began to transform into a lonely, depressed, hateful, and ultimately evil character. The primary burden that Grendel had to endure was that he had nobody to develop a relationship with and nobody to love him in return. Therefore, he became consumed with his own loneliness, depression, and
Grendel in a situation where he is feeling different emotions that make him act a certain way. Every time Grendel terrorizes human beings, it seems vile and full of hate, but that is not the intention. People fail to acknowledge why the relationship between Grendel and humans is full of hate. The awful relationship started off when they started off with a negative impression due to the lack of communication. Grendel became scared of the humans and the only thing the humans can do is defend themselves when they see an enormous monster. While Grendel knows of his evil deeds he is still confused about what his true identity is. This failure to figure out his identity is what Grendel seems to try and achieve throughout the novel. It is not easy for him because of the position he has in life. Grendel does not truly know his place in the world and he strives throughout his life to find the answer.
When looking at monsters, most everyone immediately assumes that it is that of something evil. But, looking into the novel, we see how what most people would judge as a “monster”; how he thinks and feels. Reading and thinking deeper, it truly shows that all assumptions are put to questioning. In the novel “Grendel” , written John Gardner, We really start to look into the personal thoughts of what most of us would consider a monster. It shows the constant battle of thoughts and feeling going on in his head and hows those thought ties to how he observes the “wasteful, greedy, and brutal creatures” of which we would know as mankind. In looking at the bigger picture, Grendel is more human like than monster because of how he thinks, sees,
In the beginning of the book when Grendel was a small child, he was incredibly lonely but due to the nievnuss of his youth fills his world with imaginary friends. In chapter @#$ he states “Crafty-eyed, wicked as an elderly wolf, I would scheme with or stalk my imaginary friends, projecting the self I meant to become into every dark corner of the cave and the woods above”. This illustrates the alienation that Grendel feels by giving insight to the companionship that he so greatly desires. Imaginary friends can serve a very important role in a social world such as the world Grendel lives in and even the world we live in. As an example a quote by “Psychology Today” states “ Alienated young children often in boarding schools have a tendency to develop imaginary friends to cope with extreme stress or separation. Another quote from chapter one of Grendel states “Not, of course, that I fool myself with thoughts that I'm more noble. Pointless, ridiculous monster crouched in the shadows, stinking of dead men, murdered children, martyred cows. (I am neither proud nor ashamed, understand. One more dull victim, leering at seasons that were never meant to be observed.) "Ah, sad one, poor old freak!" In this moment Grendel shows his firm internal view of himself that he is and always will be an outsider, he's a freak of nature, a creature that has no business existing at all, and therefore does not deserve to be part of the
Like a puppy nipping, playfully growling preparing to battle with wolves." [Page 16] In his early years, Grendel shares the naivete of all things youthful, unchained by the perceptions and limitations the mature mind places on reality in its attempt to instill order to a disorganized world. He has, at this point in his life, no rational concept of reality as a whole, he sees it in vague shadow-shapes and imaginary cohorts. In this condition he finds a certain playful joy. While it is an admittedly childish state of mind, he is quite happy at play, as are most children. When the change and growth comes, it brings him down from the ignorant bliss he feels in his immaturity.
The story of Beowulf is a heroic epic chronicling the illustrious deeds of the great Geatish warrior Beowulf, who voyages across the seas to rid the Danes of an evil monster, Grendel, who has been wreaking havoc and terrorizing the kingdom. Beowulf is glorified for his heroic deeds of ridding the land of a fiendish monster and halting its scourge of evil while the monster is portrayed as a repugnant creature who deserves to die because of its evil actions. In the epic poem, Beowulf the authors portrays Grendel as a cold-hearted beast who thrives on the pain of others. Many have disagreed with such a simplistic and biased representation of Grendel and his role in the epic poem. John Gardner in his book, Grendel set out to change the