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The Monstrous nature of Grendel and Beowulf

Uploaded by xxdeftonesxx52 on Dec 03, 2004

In the epic, Beowulf, and in John Gardner’s novel, Grendel, the characters of Grendel and Beowulf demonstrate characteristics of a monster, while demonstrating human like qualities. The creature, Grendel exhibits his evil side by eating human beings. Grendel laments, “I will move from bed to bed and destroy them all, swallow every last man” (Gardner 168). As Grendel is about to attack the sleeping Danes and is contemplating what he will do, his desire to eat humans unleashes the monster inside of Grendel. Similarly, The individual by the name of Beowulf resembles a monster by of his large stature, causing Grendel to fear Beowulf. Beowulf wants to slay Grendel to end the suffering of the Danes. To Grendel, Beowulf symbolizes evil because Beowulf tortures Grendel as Beowulf is killing Grendel. Gardner describes this encounter with, “ Nowhere on middle-earth, I realize, have I encountered a grip like his…I scream facing him, grotesquely shaking hands-dear long-long lost brother.” (Gardner 169). Beowulf totures Grendel like a true monster. Although both Grendel and Beowulf demonstrate their fiendish qualities, Grendel and Beowulf also have human qualities. For example, Grendel, a very philosophical creature, thinks constantly about the world around him as most humans, and Beowulf, born a human demonstrates human qualities by inheritance of human traits. Beowulf also demonstrates human qualities by having a desire to help the Danes, as humans help each other out. In this way Grendel and Beowulf demonstrate monstrous traits , yet exhibit human qualities as well.
In the epic Beowulf Grendel’s monstrous nature originates by his ancestry to Cain, the evil son of Adam and Eve. Grendel is forced to live a life of evil because God, through Cain curses Grendel’s existence. In Beowulf the author describes Grendel, “as one who. . . haunted the moors, and was conceived by a pair of those monsters born of Cain” (Raffel 38-42). The discription of Grendel in Beowulf is that of an evil beast because of his past. In the novel, Grendel depicts his own malevolent actions by saying, “Some three or four nights later I launched my first raid. I burst in when they were asleep, snatched seven from their beds, and slit them up and devoured them on the spot, I felt a strange, unearthly joy” (Gardner 79). In Gardner’s novel, Grendel demonstrates his heinous intentions by eating human beings. In Beowulf, and in...

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Uploaded by:   xxdeftonesxx52

Date:   12/03/2004

Category:   Literature

Length:   4 pages (867 words)

Views:   5579

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