Perspectives in Beowulf

Topics: Beowulf, Hroðgar, Perception Pages: 2 (686 words) Published: February 9, 2009
The story of Grendel, written by John Gardner, tells the tale of Beowulf, but from a slightly different angle. Instead of talking of Beowulf as being the hero, the story is told from Grendel's perspective. During the course of the book, Grendel attempts to explain many of his misguided attempts at friendship and other ways that he tried to make Beowulf understand that he was a living creature as well. He was treated as a monster, but he was not as hateful and horrible as he was made out to be in Beowulf's tale. In fact, Beowulf’s side of the story made Grendel appear incredibly inhumane and unmerciful, when in reality, Grendel was just misunderstood. In Beowulf, translated by Burton Raffel, the main character of Beowulf is the ultimate hero. He is constantly saving the town and is looked up to by all the townspeople. Beowulf has also had encounters with Grendel, the town’s monster, where Beowulf always saves the day and chases the monster away. These two stories can be looked at many different ways; there are always multiple sides to a story. The order in which an audience experiences both stories, significantly affects their perception on the same events. If one were to read Beowulf first, for example, their views on Grendel would be very different compared to someone who read Grendel first. “..snatched up thirty men, smashed them unknowing in their beds and ran out with their bodies, the blood dripping behind him, back to his lair, delighted with his night’s slaughter,” (Beowulf, pg. 7) Grendel is made out to look like a terrible monster that terrorizes everyone. The reader would think that Grendel had bad intentions and killed people for fun. Audiences that experienced Grendel’s story first would think very differently, he was only trying to get some food, it just so happens that he eats people. In Beowulf, they also find Grendel “disrupting” their parties, he enters and everyone panics, assuming Grendel is there to harm them. In fact, he was just...

Cited: ❖ Beowulf. Trans. Burton Raffel. McDougal Littell, 1998.
❖ Gardener, John . Grendel. n.d.
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