Finding Humor in Grendel

Topics: Comedy, Humour, Joke Pages: 2 (717 words) Published: December 20, 2007
The book Grendel by John Gardner is about a lonely, nihilistic beast that spends the story suffering through life and feeding its blood lust. Yes it is hilarious. If you don't think my first two sentences go together, then you didn't read Grendel. Despite the obvious drama and suffering that he story's main character, Grendel, goes through John Gardner finds a way to put comedy into his work. Gardner, however, very rarely uses this comedy as a form of comic relief to lighten the story, if anything this humor makes the story even darker by highlighting the ignorance of mankind and a nihilist's outlook on life.

Men's lack of intelligence is apparent from Grendel's first encounter with men. Though in some ways sad, when the men have Grendel's unconscious body and they think that the giant beast with human-like features is a tree fungus, and then a spirit, you can't help but laugh at how just plain dumb these men are. "The tall one said, ‘It's a growth of some kind, that's my opinion. Some beastlike fungus.'"(Gardner 24) This quote is just a great example of the logic skills these men have. Just as great of an example as that last sentence was of sarcasm.

In the fifth chapter when the dragon has his long talk with Grendel, the dragon really does a lot to influence both Grendel's spiritual and overall life outlook. Given the situation that both Grendel and the dragon are in, it is hard to disagree with how the dragon advises Grendel to live. "He shook his head. ‘My advice to you my friend, is to seek out gold and sit on it.'" (Gardner 74) That statement is funny simply because it is, but it also makes the reader think of how they would find purpose in life if they were either immortal or granted unnaturally long life. After a while there is only so much that can be achieved.

When a man is trying to convince a king that anarchy is the way to go, then that will fall under the category of the ignorance of men. I think it is hilarious that someone would try to...
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