Grendel vs. Beowulf Comparison

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Tainted Tone There are two sides to every story. The events may be the same, but the tone in which the story is told shapes the reader’s understanding of the events. This idea is never more evident than through the disparity between Burton Raffel’s translation of Beowulf and John Gardner’s Grendel. Both novels are based on the idea of Beowulf killing Grendel. However, the two different points of view telling the story create vastly different novels. Beowulf highlights the heroic and positive world in which Beowulf lives. Whereas Grendel elucidates on the miserable life that Grendel is circumscribed to. The consistent variance in tone skews the events in two completely different directions. The tone between Beowulf and Grendel differ in…show more content…
Reading that, the audience clearly can tell that Beowulf is no average person, and that he is experienced with wisdom. With Beowulf portrayed as a polished individual the reader comes to respect Beowulf’s actions and words much more. Grendel, however, is portrayed as an immature child. His childishness is noted through his actions, but is even more obvious through his words. When Grendel’s foot gets caught in a trap, his words confirm his pupilage: “Owp!” I yelled. “Mama! Waa!” (Gardner 18). It sounds like something a five year old would say. The tone makes it blatantly obvious how immature Grendel really is. Grendel depends on his mother rescue to continue surviving. The tone illustrates the immense difference between the mature Beowulf, leader of the Geats, and the immature Grendel, an aimless creature. As a result of the varying tone sophistication, each novel demands a different level of seriousness from the audience. Can tone really change our perception of an event? The contrast between Beowulf and Grendel proves that tone dictates the way the audience comprehends the plot. The positive perception of Beowulf and negative perception of Grendel shape their outlook on life as a whole. When Beowulf succeeds he points to god as the source of the righteousness, while Grendel attributes his failure and the world’s unfairness to god. Further more, the mature tone throughout Beowulf confirms the character’s strength, and the immaturity of Grendel belittles

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