To an Athlete Dying Young

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Beowulf concretely establishes the traditional hero/villain roles only to have Grendel pulverize this concept proving that just as Grendel the character cannot exist without Beowulf the character, Grendel the novel cannot exist without Beowulf the poem.

Gardner utilizes alliteration, demonic kennings, negative diction, pathos, first point of view, pleading repetition, innocent tone, and beastlike imagery to manipulate the villain role and create compassion for Grendel. Through the use of pathos, pleading diction, innocent tone, demonic kennings, creates Grendel look as if not evil. Grendel is portrayed as a confused creature passing through life looking for answers. Surprisingly Grendel walks the forest in harmony with animals. He does not act like the blood hungry beast he is seen as in Beowulf. Another aspect of the humans in the story that Grendel defines is their concept of a hero. Not only does he allow for heroes to exits he gives them their purpose in life. Grendel evokes sympathy toward the hideous monster by making him seem like the victim, while Beowulf portrays him as being the most loathsome of enemies.

Another aspect of the humans in the story that Grendel defines is their concept of a hero. Not only does he allow for heroes to exist he gives them their purpose in life. Grendel is the monster in the darkness that every loyal thane would defend his king against. Without Grendel this unique situation would not exist. On the other hand, Grendel has the ability of humiliating and causing a man to be named a coward. He does this to none other than Unferth. Unferth is treated like a hero because he would defeat the "monster" Grendel, or die trying. When Grendel does not allow him to complete this task he is shamed by his fellow thanes. Grendel realizes that by killing the man he will be defining him as a hero in the eyes of the humans. Considering the way Grendel was treated by Unferth, and others like him, it becomes easy to sympathize with him extracting this tiny bit of revenge. Later on in the story, however, Grendel gives a man the glory of being a hero at the cost of his own life. This man is Beowulf

One of the most compelling and highly developed characters in the novel Grendel, written by John Gardner, and the poem Beowulf, written by an anonymous poet, is the monster, Grendel. Even though these pieces show two different sides to Grendel they are similar in many ways. Grendel evokes sympathy toward the hideous monster by making him seem like the victim, while Beowulf portrays him as being the most loathsome of enemies. The reasons behind Grendel’s being, his killing, and finally his death make him one of the most controversial and infamous monsters in literature. Grendel is the man-killing monster that Beowulf portrayed him as being, yet he is also the lonely victim of a judgmental world. Grendel is a descendent of Cain and is forced to live with the inherited curse of being denied God’s presence. Cain’s lineage has been known to spawn monsters, trolls, giants, and other undesirable beings, all of which were rejected from society. Beowulf and Grendel both speak of Grendel’s ancestor Cain, almost as if using it as an excuse for his rash and murderous actions. Beowulf told of a Grendel that mercilessly attacked Hrothgar’s meadhall killing men without reason. Grendel also speaks of this evil monster, but in a more sympathetic and excusable manner. Grendel is thought of as “the guardian of sins'; and is the physical equivalent to a man that has been shunned by God. He is des... Grendel's first encounter with the human beings that he literally defines is not a pleasant one. After accidentally trapping himself in a tree he is discovered by a group of thanes out on patrol. Grendel expresses absolutely no hostile intentions towards these "ridiculous" (ch.2, pp.24) creatures that "moved by clicks." (ch.2, pp.24) The thanes do not...
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