John Gardner's Grendel: A Necessary Evil

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In the book, “Grendel,” by John Gardner, Grendel is some sort of supernatural creature that kills the humans and eats them after he is done. So Hrothgar’s men fight to defend themselves against this supernatural creature. However, we see in the book that Grendel has feelings and emotions towards humans. Grendel states in the novel that he thinks Hrothgar’s men are animals and that they waste lives. However, the humans think otherwise, they think that Grendel is a supernatural monster that is here to kill them. So, due to circumstances I think the humans were the monsters and Grendel was not.
In the novel Grendel was not mistaken when calling Hrothgar’s men animals. In the novel the men did some things that made them animals. For example Grendel
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I cringe, clawing my flesh, and flee for home” (Gardener 14). This shows that Grendel has such a disgust and hate towards humans because they are able to turn tragedy into triumph. This happens because Grendel sees the humans burning up bits of the lost men that Grendel has killed. Another example, is when Grendel states, "Neither Breca nor you ever fought such battles," he said. "I don 't boast much of that. Nevertheless, I don 't recall hearing any glorious deeds of yours, except that you murdered your brothers. You 'll prowl the stalagmites of hell for that, friend Unferth—clever though you are" (Gardner 162). This clearly justifies the fact that Grendel is not a devious and destructive creature. In the quote Beowulf is boasting and smack talking and Grendel doesn 't do this much at all. So this is clearly conveying in my opinion that that Beowulf has a chance to stop the fighting and madness but he continues to boast and stir Grendel up. The final reason that the humans are the real animals is that in the novel it states, “All the bands did the same thing. In time I began to be more amused than revolted by what they threatened. It didn 't matter to me…show more content…
Always we portray Grendel as the monster and destructive character. However, in the novel by John Gardner that is a different case. We see Grendel as a emotional and sympathetic character. For example, Grendel states, “It wasn 't because he threw that battle-ax that I turned on Hrothgar. That was mere midnight foolishness... It wasn 't until later, when I was full-grown and Hrothgar was an old, old man, that I settled my soul on destroying him—slowly and cruelly” (Gardner 30). This quote is justifying that fact that Grendel is not such a monster and his actions were mere foolishness. So to elaborate even though Grendel maybe destructive he doesn 't do the things he doesn 't do these things for fun or to be devious he is just foolish. He really doesn 't want to actually hurt anyone. Another example that Grendel is not a monster is that he states in the novel, “And so begins the twelfth year of my idiotic war. The pain of it! The stupidity!” (Gardner 5). This quote is very straightforward and simple although we can get so much from it. For instance, this quote is conveying that Grendel hates fighting with the humans and he is suffering from it. This is because the war causes him to have so much pain with the humans. The last example that Grendel is not truly a monster is that Grendel states in the novel, “I would feel, all at once, alone and ugly, almost—as if I 'd dirtied myself—obscene.

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