Is Grendel Evil?

Powerful Essays
In a world of chaos, he who lives, lives by his own laws and values. Who is to say that the death of millions is any worse or better, for that matter, than injuring a cockroach. And in the case of an existing power in the form of God, who is presumed to be all which is good, presiding and ruling an organized universe, why then does evil exist? The prosaic response of "without evil, there is no good" no longer holds any validity in this argument as the admitted goal of good is to reach an existence without evil. So even if a God does exist, I think it is fair, at this point, to say that he is the embodiment of both good and evil. And if humoring those who would answer the previous question with the response that there can be no good without evil, then can we assume that evil is simply a subsection of a defined good? Or perhaps even a good thing? If it is essential, those who chose the side of evil are simply abiding by good values. In the case of a world ruled by Chaos, evil is a non-existent word or value, rather. The system upon which a person's actions are judged also disappears leaving nothing but an instinct for natural survival as basic and primary as the life within the forests which we tear down to build our houses.

Ethics is a wide field of philosophical study to which the core of every question within falls to one side of a blurred line. On the right, is good; the value which is popularly believed to be the correct alignment for which a person should live their life according to. On the left, is evil; that which is the cause of most human misery, and prevents peace on earth. In John Gardner's book Grendel, the retelling of the ages old story Beowulf, further blurs the line between good and evil. Circumstance and perhaps a confused view of reality allow the monster, Grendel, to conceivably defend his evil beliefs. In order to better understand evil, using Grendel as a guide, I intend to attempt to justify it.
Grendel is born a neutral being,

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Grendel : Evil

    • 828 Words
    • 4 Pages

    In the novel, Grendel by John Gardener, Grendel is a human-like creature capable of rational thought as well as feeling emotions. Early on in the story Gardener depicts Grendel as being very observant, critical and somewhat spiteful of the world around him. He describes himself as a murderous monster who smells of death and crouches in the shadows. Grendel watches the humans from the shadows of the trees and at first it seems as though they are the real monsters, slaughtering and pillaging all for…

    • 828 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Is Grendel Truley Evil?

    • 1119 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Is Grendel Evil or Victim to Circumstance? : How humanity has a tendency to put labels on people they don’t really understand. In the epic of Beowulf, one of the warrior’s biggest adversaries is a creature from the swamp named Grendel. Although the character of Grendel is present for only a short portion in the story of Beowulf, Grendel signifies one of the important messages in the text about humanity. In Beowulf, Grendel is called a ‘monster’. However, if observed closely, analyzing the…

    • 1119 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Grendel Good Vs Evil

    • 245 Words
    • 1 Page

    Throughout the epic, evil contrasts God, works to oppose Him, and seeks to wreak havoc on and destroy God’s creation. Serving as a direct contrast to God, Grendel and his mother were part of "Cain's Clan, whom the creator had outlawed and condemned as outcasts" and live completely separated from God (106). The author further describes the egregious Grendel as “God-cursed,” living in opposite to all that God represents (121). Because God symbolizes complete goodness, and Grendel persists completely…

    • 245 Words
    • 1 Page
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    many ways that represents about the evil of Grendel had describes a conflict that between the courage, the mighty, power, loyal in warrior, and the demons that happening itself in this story. Of course, Grendel is one of the fiend and a devil in this story that represents as an evil in the society and the world. Grendel also be an enemy of the God, and the God sends the heroic like Beowulf to defeat Grendel in the mead-hall and become a representation of evil in society. Thus, the poem is a combination…

    • 278 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    what is evil and what is not? In John Gardner’s Grendel, the main character wonders if he is truly evil and the purpose for his existence. He starts as a poor, lonely creature, but after an encounter with a dragon, his mindset changes. He experiments with different philosophies in order to define his existence. Consequently, he becomes an intolerably evil creature that shows no remorse for his actions. He intentionally deceives the Danish people, disrespects others, and kills for sport. Grendel is evil…

    • 733 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Grendel is the first evil that Beowulf has to face. Grendel is seen as evil because he holds the characteristics of a monster or demon. Within the poem the monster qualities of Grendel are used to reference him multiple times. Some qualities used to refer to Grendel are, “From his plundering claws:/ That shadow of death.” (158-159). His claws are what the poet uses to reference Grendel and they are the inhuman quality of Grendel that show he is not a human. Grendel being a shadow of death shows that…

    • 139 Words
    • 1 Page
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Grendel

    • 906 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Dual Credit English 16 February 2015 Grendel The figurative language and imagery found in Beowulf elaborately depict a tale of heroism and fate, complete with allusions, foreshadowing, alliterations, metaphors, and the like. Many of these literary devices are woven through Grendel’s place in the story, describing him as Cain’s spawn and giving life to his anger. The author allows the reader to experience the terror that men in the mead hall felt when Grendel claimed the lives of those among them…

    • 906 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Grendel

    • 394 Words
    • 2 Pages

    In the novel “Grendel,” by John Gardner, the main character Grendel encounters two other characters who greatly influence his view about the world around him. One of which is “The Sharper” and the other is “the dragon.” They both influence Grendels views on life in a unique ways especially since he looks at his life as isolation due to his communication. The “Dragon,” is an interesting and intelligent character who claims to know everything. He’s a huge, red/golden dragon that lives in a cave filled…

    • 394 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Grendel

    • 287 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Gardner’s Grendel Formal Analytical Essay A home is a place where one lives and feels most comfortable. In John Gardner’s Grendel, the dragon is a character that has a large influence on the way Grendel thinks towards the end of the novel. He also is responsible for Grendel’s decision to attack the Scylding people, and eventually this decision led to Grendel’s “unexpected” death. The dragon impacts the Anglo-Saxon people because his words influence Grendel to raid the Scyldings, he impacts Grendel by…

    • 287 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Symbolism In Grendel

    • 542 Words
    • 3 Pages

    used and implied throughout the novel Grendel by John Gardner. The immense symbols are illustrated in a way in which all parts come together to affect the plot. However, the majority of symbolism is shown through one character, the dragon. The dragon is symbolic of the devil and corruption. These characteristics shape the world around Grendel and affect every aspect of his life. The dragon is a devious character. He frightens, ridicules, and angers Grendel. He is bold and does not care about anything…

    • 542 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays