What Makes Grendel the Villain?

Topics: Beowulf, Antisocial personality disorder, Good and evil Pages: 2 (593 words) Published: March 20, 2014
Beowulf is a notable piece of literature not only because it is the earliest vernacular of English literature, but because it, similarly to the Odyssey, is a wonderful adventure story containing many tropes succeeding fantasy stories would later employ.

The hero Beowulf is of course handsome, strong and possesses all the traits that are desirable to his culture. The villain, Grendel is of course hideous in appearance, cruel, and reclusive. “Then a powerful demon, a prowler through the dark, nursed a hard grievance. It harrowed him to hear the din of the loud banquet every day in the hall…”

Grendel lived a lonely existence, despising the company of others as well as the sight of other people enjoying the company of others. Basically he hated seeing other people having fun when he was miserable. While that is a pretty common reaction even for people who aren’t savage monsters, anyone whose main occupation is to crash parties is always going to be a huge jerk.

Although his decrepit appearance is part of his villainous persona, the text takes special care in being as vague as possible when describing the monster (mostly because they’re trying to make him as scary as possible by letting your imagination do the work). The qualities that are left are his savage and antisocial behaviors. We know that Beowulf and Grendel are equal matches for each other. When reading the text, especially the battle scenes, the line between good and evil becomes increasingly blurred as we witness Beowulf willingly let one of his comrades be eaten by Grendel. Beowulf and Grendel are both excellent wrestlers and unforgiving warriors, so they both have a savage nature, but Beowulf is the triumphant hero and best king.

So the remaining quality that distinguishes Grendel as a villain is basically his loneliness. His anti-social behavior is seen as an extremely negative, defining evil trait. He prefers to sulk alone and hates to see people gathered in groups, which is why he...
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