Grendel Essay

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Dylan Maher
Ms. Byrne
British Literature
26 October 2012

“All evils are equal when they are extreme.” This quote by Pierre Corneille explains the natural evil humans have. In the novel Grendel by John Gardner, a monster named Grendel, who was once depicted as a complete evil creature in the epic poem Beowulf, tells the monster's side of the story through it's own eyes. By reading the text in the novel Grendel a person can realize that the monster Grendel was seeking attention and acceptance from the Danes, who were the human civilization which Grendel encountered on a daily basis. The author Gardner used this portrayal of the monster Grendel in the third person as an allegory to show how humanity as a society is too judgmental and does not understand the battles a person, or in this case a creature, faces on a daily basis.

Gardner uses the first couple chapters of the novel Grendel to show the reader how Grendel is a big scary monster who has a very sensitive side to himself and is very lonely. When Grendel first encounters men he describes it as: “ I saw men … I found I understood them: it was my own language but spoken in a strange way. (Pg.23)” This quote from the text shows Grendel's first realization that he wanted to fit in with these men and noticed that humans and him were not that different at all. This realization set the tone for the story and showed that the monster in all reality just wanted to be accepted.

Later in the story the reader learns that Grendel was rejected from the Dane's society when he proposed a treaty. Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, looked at Grendel as an enemy which breaded pure evil and was not in any way a human and should be killed. When Grendel realized that he was not going to be able to be a part of the Danes, Grendel built up rage and frustration. Grendel released this rage and frustration by killing many Danes and tormenting the common people.

One of the things that Grendel did to torment Hrothgar, the king...
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