Monstrosity is something that is outrageously or offensively wrong, and that is just what Grendel demonstrated in the epic poem, “Beowulf.” Grendel, who is the antagonist in this story, clearly showed he knew what he was doing when he hunted and murdered his prey. He even showed that he enjoyed slaughtering others. Through all this, he shows that he is explicitly evil and it was right for him to be put down like the animal he was. “That shadow of death hunted in the darkness, stalked Hrothgar's warriors, old and young, lying in waiting, hidden in mist, invisibly following them from the edge of the marsh, always there, unseen” (Beowulf 2: Line 74). Grendel was smart and a slithery serpent. He did not wish to be seen, just as any hunter does not wish to be detected. The beast knew precisely how to remain unseen and kill. In a previous line, it is said of Grendel that, “Grendel hunted when they slept” (Beowulf 2: Line 56). None can say that someone is innocent of slaughter when they wait until the dead of night, when their targets are asleep, to bring them to an even deeper sleep. It is extremely evident that Grendel knew what he was doing and how to kill, but it is even more evident that he enjoyed the slaughter. “The monster's thoughts were as quick as his claws: He slipped through the door and there in the silence snatched up thirty men, smashed them unknowing in their beds, and ran out with their bodies, the blood dripping behind him, back to his lair delighted with his nights slaughter” (Beowulf 2: Line 34). This line says plain as day that he enjoyed what he did. It goes even further still, however. “How the monster relished his savage war on the Danes, keeping the Vinson 2
bloody feud alive, seeking no peace, offering, no truce, accepting no settlement, no price in gold or land and paying the living for one crime only with another” (Beowulf 2: Line 67). Grendel sought no acceptance from these people, only their lives....
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