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Comparison and Contrast of Grendel and Beowulf

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Comparison and Contrast of Grendel and Beowulf

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  • April 2013
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The Comparison and Contrast of Grendel and Beowulf

In the novel Grendel by John Gardner he portrays a different image of what Grendel appears in the epic poem of Beowulf. Grendel is a nonhuman who possess and shows the abilities that a human would portray. Grendel, believed to be a demon descendent of the demon Cain, is never explained as to what exactly he is or what he is said to look like. Only explanation of what Grendel may be is small facts portrayed throughout the story. The only facts we know is he is standing on two feet as a human would, his body is covered in hair, and he is seen as a monstrous being.

Even though there are many significant differences between the stories “Beowulf” and “Grendel” there are certain factors that stand out. When reading “Beowulf” he is portrayed as an animalistic being, like a huge beast. With this in mind the reader is given the notion he is driven purely on his beastly, or animal instincts, and having no human instincts to guide him what so ever. This thought is proven throughout the story when is referred to as “the monster”. He is known for terrorizing the Hgrothgar’s people. In reading the novel “Grendel” it is told in his point of view therefore not being seen as a viscous killing machine. Although the two stories have their differences his nature, being animalistic, is seen in both. His purpose or goal is shown different in the novel “Grendel” as compared to the epic poem “Beowulf”.

In “Grendel” he is shown to be using mainly self-defense, as he was the first to be treated poorly by the humans. This mistreatment started when Grendel was found to be watching humans from behind a tree. With this the attacks began, not only humans but a bull as well. So he didn’t turn on the humans first, the humans acted first. The humans acted on fear, feeling he was there to bring them harm. He is seen as almost a confused creature. He is not a blood thirsty animal preying on everything in his path, but...