top-rated free essay

Beowulf vs. Grendel

By thigley Oct 27, 2014 699 Words

Elements of a Series
Grendel, a prequel to the popular epic Beowulf, provides a look into the dismal life of the unearthly monster. Grendel and Beowulf are clearly similar but also show striking differences in the elements of each story through the formulation of the setting, the portrayal and development of certain characters, and the depiction of motifs. In both Grendel and Beowulf, the stories take place in the land of the Gaets, ruled by Hrothgar. The Gaet people living in the town experience Hrothgar’s gratitude with his providing of Heorot, a town hall. In both stories, the townspeople gather there and drink mead with each other. This hall is the main spot of attack for Grendel, as he attacks the drunken people who are clueless. Since the main characters in the stories are different, the setting does comprise of minor differences. A main, reoccurring event in Grendel is the trek from Grendel’s cave down to the low-lying town of the Geats. Grendel’s cave is lodged in a mountain, near his mother. Grendel walks down the mountain, across a field, and eventually down to the town of the foolish Gaet people. The setting of Beowulf constantly jumps from one area to another. The story follows Beowulf, an epic hero, from Denmark to the land of the Gaets. The story takes place in both Denmark and the land of the Gaets as the narrator constantly jumps time frames to different stories and times. The setting of both stories is very similar in the set up of the town and the importance of Heorot as the attacking spot for Grendel. The constant depiction of motifs and underlying symbols are very prevalent in Grendel but not so much as in Beowulf. John Gardner, the author of Grendel, uses the Zodiac signs during the entire story. Each of the twelve zodiac signs, assigned to a chapter, represent the changing seasons and time periods as well as the changing of and description of characters such as Grendel, Hrothulf, and Red Horse. These motifs show the transition of the story and the time and season in which the chapter is occurring. In Beowulf, the monsters are all recurring symbols. The three monsters represent the three sections of the story. Also, with each monster comes an increased toughness. Beowulf defeated Grendel with his hands, defeated Grendel’s mother with a sword and chain-mail, and killed the dragon but eventually died from the monster. The three monsters represent the transition of the story to Beowulf’s death. The stories both contain underlying motifs based on transition and time, but in regard to different subjects and characters. Many of the main characters in Beowulf appear scarcely, if all, in Grendel, and many new characters appear in Grendel. The characters Grendel and Beowulf both propose polar characteristics in the two stories, and a new character, The Shaper, plays a large role in the Grendel story. In Beowulf, Grendel appears to be a ruthless and miserable monster that wreaks havoc on the Geats. He struggles with violence and power and ends up being killed by Beowulf. However, in Grendel, he is portrayed as a lonely creature. He attempts to understand how to live and be accepted in a world he does not know. He starts out as a childish figure and transitions into a strong-minded monster. Beowulf rarely appears in the John Gardner version of Grendel. However, Beowulf appears as a true superhero. He exemplifies superhuman attributes and does certain uncannily feats. In both stories, Beowulf rips off the arm of Grendel with his bare hands and sends him to his death. Both Grendel and Beowulf undergo drastic character changes in the two stories. Grendel and Beowulf both have certain elements of their story that are alike and also differ including the setting, characters, and display of motifs. They differ drastically in the language of the stories and the portrayal of the story as a poem compared to a book. The language, affected by the time period it was written in, is much more modern in the John Gardner version. The stories differ in the elements of the setting and motifs, but mostly, in the depiction of the characters.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Character Analysis: Grendel

    ...Grendel as a Ridiculous Character Probably one of the greatest questions of the 19th century comes directly from John Gardner’s novel Grendel. Given a world with no inherent meaning, how should one live his or her life? Grendel lives in a world that he is not supposed to be in, acting out on emotion. Grendel represents the animalistic traits...

    Read More
  • Beowulf vs. Grendel

    ...Keya Riggins Dr. White Honors English 11 4 October 2012 Beowulf vs. Grendel “The folks own fastness that fiery dragon with flame had destroyed and the stronghold all washed by waves; but the warlike king, prince of the Weders, plotted vengeance (Beowulf XXXI). This statement stated by the narrator tells about the hero, Beowulf, seeking ...

    Read More
  • Grendel vs. Beowulf Comparison

    ...This idea is never more evident than through the disparity between Burton Raffel’s translation of Beowulf and John Gardner’s Grendel. Both novels are based on the idea of Beowulf killing Grendel. However, the two different points of view telling the story create vastly different novels. Beowulf highlights the heroic and positive world in whi...

    Read More
  • Beowulf vs. Beowulf

    ...Beowulf vs. Beowulf Deciding what is the best choice for others and deciding what choice is best for us is an ongoing battle. Sometimes the best choice for you might not be the best for others, which deems us selfish. The remaining times, the best choice for others might not be the best choice for us, which judges us as people pleasers. Most a...

    Read More
  • Burial and Grendel Beowulf

    ...protagonist, Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, comes to the aid of Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, whose great hall, Heorot, is plagued by the monster Grendel. Beowulf kills Grendel with his bare hands and Grendel's mother with a sword, which giants once used, that Beowulf found in Grendel's mother's lair. Later in his life, Beowulf is himself kin...

    Read More
  • Beowulf Grendel Synthesis essay

    ...and are rejected by their society. Grendel and the Anglo-Saxon society are an example of this. While the Anglo-Saxons went about their life, Grendel watched from a distance. Although Grendel had never been a part of the Anglo-Saxon society, he tried to understand them. In this scenario, Grendel is seen as the reject, being that he had tried to ...

    Read More
  • The Distinguished Characteristics of Beowulf vs. Grendel

    ...Characteristics of Beowulf vs. Grendel In Beowulf, the hero defeats the “corpse-maker”, Grendel. Of Beowulf’s three battles, the fight with Grendel has the most significance. Both Grendel and Beowulf emerge unexpectedly, foreigners who respectively destroy and restore to make dramatic changes to the peace of the Spear-Danes. Beowulf al...

    Read More
  • Beowulf and Grendel

    ...Grendel as a Bully or Grendel as Pleasant Have you ever heard the same story twice and had a different view on the story the second time you heard it? This is what happened in the novel Grendel by John Gardner; it was a retelling of the epic poem Beowulf just Gardner gave the reader an insight to what it was like to be in Grendel’s shoes...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.