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 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.
In contrast to the Danes of “Beowulf”, Grendel searched for his very reason of existence by asking the questions “Why?” and “How?” for answers. Grendel started off in the book struggling with finding meaning in his life while watching the people clearly doing things that gave their lives meaning. He became upset as he saw that he couldn’t deter their spirits no matter what he did and started to feel jealous of their self-found purpose. He realized that through various ways the people attained meaning. In response to his confusion over their self-discovered purpose, Grendel started listening to the Shaper’s words when he spoke to the people shaping their very beliefs which confused Grendel even more on the meaning of life. After listening to the Shaper for a while, readers can see Grendel in a state of contradiction. He started off killing people as a simple, bestial monstrosity but in the end he is shown as quite intelligent and capable of choosing whether to kill or not. Soon, Grendel started seeking answers to his questions from a dragon. The dragon’s very philosophy on life was that there is no meaning of life which started to influence Grendel. Upon Grendel’s persistent questions of “Why?”, the dragon told him “You improve them, my boy! Can’t you see that yourself? You stimulate them! You make them think and scheme…You are, so to speak, the brute existent by which they learn to define themselves
The Old English epic Beowulf is the earliest recorded poem in Old English. The story is set in Scandinavia with the antagonist Grendel. Gendel is a monster and an insensitive character. Grendel was born into a monster and was cursed his entire life. Although Grendel was strong he wasn’t very brave because he only attacks at night when the guards are asleep. He has many characteristics that a monster would have. First and foremost, he was raised to be evil, and never had the chance to be good. Also whenever he would hear joy, he would be filled with anger and hatred. Grendel likes killing people he doesn’t feel any remorse after killing people. An example from the story that shows this is “Snatched up thirty men, smashed them unknowing in their beds and out with their bodies (Genesis,pg 4).”Talking about Grendel ties in with our next evil antagonist known as Cain. Cain is the son of Adam and Eve. He was a farmer who was jealous of his brother who was accepted by God and when Cain was rejected he decided to kill his brother Abel. Unlike Grendel Cain believed in god he just didn’t
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
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
In John Gardner’s Grendel, his theme can be interpreted in several manners. I see it as the author is trying to have the reader sympathize with Grendel. Others may think that Gardner is trying to make Grendel seem more monstrous; more evil. The author’s intentions are portrayed by explaining Grendel’s experiences prior to facing off Beowulf.
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.
Grendel is an unreliable narrator in John Gardner’s book Grendel, which describes his life journey to find truth about humanity and himself. Grendel does not display the qualities of an impartial, authoritative, and unbiased narrator in the story, but instead gives the reader cause for suspicion in his narration of events. Firstly, Grendel is inherently biased as a narrator because it comes from the first person point of view. Grendel has a bias to favor himself more positively in the events that transpire over the course of the novel. He displays personal interest and is directly involved in the conflicts that arise. Moreover, Grendel antagonizes and tortures the humans over the course of twelve long years and can lessen his guilt by being deceptive to the reader. He diverts blame for
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.
Both the epic poem Beowulf and the novel Grendel depict the same storyline, but from different point of views. Grendel’s personality tends to be much more evil than he himself depicts in the novel. Since Grendel is the narrator of the novel, the audience only gets to know what the story is like from his point of view, which he stretches the truth on numerous occasions. But, in Beowulf, the poem has a narrator and is in the third person omniscient, this means the audience knows how all the characters and feeling, thinking, or saying. Also, the theme nature vs. nurture appears a lot in Grendel which means his viewpoints on certain things are either
Grendel, is thus seen as the descendant of an individual who epitomizes resentment and malice in Beowulf. The author states Grendel lives in exile and is seen as “mankind’s enemy”(Raffel, 22). Grendel is the representation of all that is evil and he is declared to be the “shepherd of evil and the “guardian of crime”(Raffel, 33) by the Danes in Beowulf. The author describes Grendel to be an evil, cruel, apathetic creature who’s pleasure lies in attacking and devouring Hrothgar’s men. The author describes Grendel’s malice by painting a gruesome picture of Grendel’s countless attacks on the mead hall in which he exhibits Grendel as a heartless, greedy, and violent being who mercilessly murders the men at the mead hall by tearing them apart, cutting their body into bits and drinking the blood from their veins. The author describes Grendel’s greed by stating Grendel’s thoughts were as “quick as his greed or his claws”(Raffel, 21). He describes Grendel’s as having eyes that “gleamed in the darkness and burned with a gruesome light”, swift hard claws and great sharp teeth which paints a picture of Grendel’s frightening appearance in the reader’s mind. In contrast to the traditional story of Beowulf, Grendel in John Gardner’s novel, Grendel is not depicted as a monster but as an intelligent creature capable of human thought, feelings and speech. John Gardner portrays Grendel as an outcast