Grendel Essay Exam

Topics: Existentialism, Meaning of life, Philosophy of life Pages: 4 (1127 words) Published: April 15, 2015
Lucas Teixeira
2/24/2014

Grendel Essay Exam

Grendel by John Gardner is a novel riddled with philosophical questions and stances taken by characters that invoke a reader to think beyond the words to get the meaning. At the end of the novel Beowulf says to Grendel,

“As you see it it is, while the seeing lasts, dark nightmare history, time as coffin; but where the water was rigid there will be fish, and men will survive on their flesh till spring. It’s coming, my brother. Believe it or not. Though you murder the world, turn plains to stone, transmogrify like into I and it, strong searching roots will crack your cave and rain will cleanse it: The world will burn green, sperm build again. My promise. Time is the mind, the hand that makes (finger on harpstrings, hero-swords, the acts, the eyes of queens). By that I kill you.” (Gardner, 70) In this quote Beowulf says some very meaningful things to Grendel, including messages about life philosophies,

In the first line of this passage, Beowulf states, “As you see it it is, while the seeing lasts, dark nightmare history, time as coffin; but where the water was rigid there will be fish, and men will survive on their flesh till spring.” In this line he is saying that what Grendel chooses to see in the world he will, such as history being comparable to a nightmare, and time being a coffin, or in another word imprisoning. Beowulf goes on in this first line to say that despite what Grendel chooses to see life will go on for other people around him in their own way, indicated by him saying, “where the water is rigid there will be fish, and men will survive on their flesh until spring.” In saying this he gives direct reference to Nihilism and Existentialism, which are two crucial philosophies present in this novel.

Beowulf says some very important things about the philosophy of life, specifically involving existentialism and nihilism. In existentialist philosophy, the individual essentially invents his or...
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