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Point Of View In Grendel And Beowulf Essay

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Contrasting points of view in Grendel and Beowulf significantly alter the reader’s perception of religion, good and evil, and the character Grendel. John Gardner’s book, Grendel, is written in first person. The book translated by Burton Raffel, Beowulf, is written in third person. Good and evil is one of the main conflicts in the poem Beowulf. How is Grendel affected by the concepts of good and evil? Grendel is an alienated individual who just wants to be a part of something. His desire to fit in causes him to do evil things. Grendel is fascinated by the Shaper’s poetry. He often returns to the mead hall to listen to it. One night while he is listening, he hears the story of Cain and Abel, including the Danes explanation of Grendel. His…show more content…
Beowulf is truly good because he helps people when they need it the most and hopes that God is with him even though he doesn’t have to do anything to help the people who have an evil creature killing their village’s population every night. In Grendel, the main belief is that of existentialism, however, there are also numerous references to Cain throughout the entire book. The basis for his version of existentialism is the following excerpt from the book itself: I understood that the world was nothing: a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears. I understood that, finally and absolutely, I alone exist. All the rest, I saw, is merely what pushes me, or what I push against, blindly—as blindly as all that is not myself pushes back. I create the whole universe, blink by blink.—An ugly god pitifully dying in a tree (Gardner 22)! One can explain this view of existentialism by considering some simple concepts of existentialism.
Existentialists believe that man is forlorn and totally responsible for his acts, and that his choices are important because existence precedes essence.
Furthermore, the references to Cain, which represented chaos and the presence of evil, can be found throughout the book. For example, after Cain killed his brother, he drinks his blood. This is typically something that Grendel does after he kills his victims. Additionally, both Cain and Grendel are viewed as outcasts of society who have to
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