Grendel through the Centuries
Have you considered seeing Grendel from a different point of view or wondered what his motivations in Beowulf to kill so many people were? In the epic poem Beowulf, Grendel is described by the author as an evil and cruel creature that has a strong desire for man´s blood. However, we get a very different characterization of the same character in the novel Grendel by John Gardner. In this book, Grendel is illustrated as the only character that thinks and reasons clearly. Therefore, readers get a very different perspective of Grendel in the two texts. This is mainly done, since the author is looking forward to expressing his personal opinion and different ideas and themes that includes the humans´s tendency to judge from the beginning, the violence of men, and the fact that humans are dumb and easy to trick.
In the epic poem Beowulf, Grendel is portrayed as a horrible monster that is powerful and malevolent. The author shows he is a cruel monster by explaining how he has tormented the Danes for nine consecutive winters. Grendel is never tired of killing people and has an incontrollable blood lust. That´s why the author chooses to describe this monster in the novel as the “bane of the race of men” (p. 49) or the “God-cursed monster” (p. 49). Grendel is thus one of the antagonists in Beowulf and is willing to do anything to destroy the human race. Grendel is also described as a powerful monster in the poem. In the beginning of the poem, the author states that every Danish would secure his house at night fearing the possibility that Grendel would appear and kill him or her. The fact that nobody was able to defend Daneland from Grendel before Beowulf demonstrates that Grendel was not as mighty as the epic hero, but still strong enough to kill a huge part of a community. All these characterizations given to Grendel help in the creation of an epic hero that shows the values and ideas of the Anglo-Saxons. As the evil monster is the...
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