Is Grendel Truley Evil? Essay

1135 WordsApr 29, 20095 Pages
Is Grendel Evil or Victim to Circumstance? : How humanity has a tendency to put labels on people they don’t really understand. In the epic of Beowulf, one of the warrior’s biggest adversaries is a creature from the swamp named Grendel. Although the character of Grendel is present for only a short portion in the story of Beowulf, Grendel signifies one of the important messages in the text about humanity. In Beowulf, Grendel is called a ‘monster’. However, if observed closely, analyzing the meaning behind the story, it is easy to see that Grendel is not a typical monster, in fact, it doesn’t seem like he is a monster at all. There is much evidence within the short period of the text where Grendel is present, which indicates he is…show more content…
Another association between the symbol of Grendel and the Catholic/Christian Church is that his modest background almost seems to mirror the ambiguity of the bible. Another part of the text which is evidence to Grendel not being the monster he is made out to be, is the relationship dynamic between Grendel and his mother, and also his mother’s actions after his death. The actions of Grendel’s mother are not those of a monster, but those of any normal woman who has children. After her son was killed (murdered and then part of his body was taken as a trophy), she just wanted to seek revenge. “But now his mother/ had sailed forth on a savage journey,/grief-racked and ravenous, desperate for revenge.” (1276-1278). Grendel’s mother displayed the emotions of complete sadness and despair over her son; it seems more of a human response rather than that belonging to a monster. Considering that the bond of a mother and son is supposed to be the strongest bond of all, her actions after his death are in a way justified. It is easy to see that the character of Grendel is much more than just a monster through his mother’s subsequent actions of taking down Grendel’s arm from hanging in Heorot, and feuding (in her own way she was trying to feud, to obey the code as it was in this time. When she went to Heorot to seek her revenge, she did not

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