Two Grendels Essay

587 words - 2 pages

The novel Grendel is written by John Gardner and the epic poem Beowulf is by an unknown poet written in Anglo-Saxon but translated by Burton Raffel. In the epic poem Beowulf, the character Grendel appears as a monster with few human qualities and little to offer in life while, contrastingly, in John Gardner’s novel Grendel he is given unique human-like characteristics which define his every action and thought.
Grendel in Gardner’s novel seems human besides the fact that he looks monstrous. This is more apparent in Gardner’s novel than in Beowulf because he is the one telling us the story and how he sees everything. Grendel is trying to figure out who he is and why he is there which shows how well developed his thinking is than in the epic poem Beowulf. Grendel says, “I understood that the world was nothing: a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears. I understood that, finally and absolutely, I alone exist.” (Gardner 21) realizing that humans in the world always do the same things, being destructive and not realizing they are repeating their actions therefore he believes he is alone. This helps to prove how developed his thoughts are from the Grendel in the epic poem. This also goes along with the fact that Grendel has been attacking the Danes for 12 years and they keep going about it the same way and thus repeating and not realizing the destruction they are doing to themselves. Before Grendel dies he says with a last breath to all the animals watching, “Poor Grendel’s had an accident, so may you all.”(Gardner 174) As result of him saying that it shows how he is happy about leaving such a world and to leave all...

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