Grendel: Human or Monster
In the story Beowulf, the character Grendel is highly misunderstood. Grendel was born in the wild marshes outside of Herot. Being raised in such harsh conditions, Grendel grew to hate the Danes and God. As a descendant of Cain, he was banished as a small child and forced to live in exile with his mother. He is portrayed in the poem as a horrendous beast with human characteristics, but looking closer to the text, he is a human out-casted and raised to be a monster. Although Grendel is written as a monstrous villain who kills with no remorse, he is actually a complex human with a repressed anger exploding in bursts.
Grendel is often described in a negative way. He is reffered to as a demon in the text “from Beowulf”
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Grendel the “Monster” Do not underestimate the power of a human being. Monsters are everywhere near and far. The sources that will be discussed are Beowulf (2007) film, Printed Cantos and textbook, and the Grendel Excerpt by John Gardner. The portrayal of Grendel in the movie differs greatly from the cantos and excerpt because in the readings he comes off as such a greedy monster, but in the movie he is lonely and in need of help.
Using a monster to help us examine what it means to be human is how the novel helps readers to make that distinction between humans, and monsters. Indeed, aside from Grendel’s horrible appearance and nasty eating habits, very little actually separated him aside from the humans such as Hrothgar or Wealtheow. Even his extreme brutality was not unique. The author, John Gardner, stresses man’s inherent violence many times throughout the novel. Additionally, Grendel’s ethical journey was a very human one, its urgency intensified by his status as an outsider.
One 8 feet tall, put together by multiple people's body parts, the other a giant, angry, man eating monster, the monster from Frankenstein and a monster named Grendel. Grendel is a fictional character first introduced in the novel Beowulf. He is the protagonist to Beowulf, exiled from civilization. Grendel was born an outcast from society then slowly became what he was always told he was, a monster. What makes Grendel such a successful villain is his lack of remorse for anything.
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...
Psychoanalysis is the way the mind investigates itself through consciousness and unconsciousness by bringing repressed fears and conflicts into the conscious mind. It brings better understanding to what shapes our personalities and why people are who they are. Grendel is just like everyone else, the way he grew up influences who he is. By looking through a psychological perspective we can get a better understanding of Grendel by observing him through Freudianism, object theory, and Neo-Freudianism. Grendel is seen as a monster that terrorizes the village in the eyes of the people.
In the poem Beowulf, there is a contrast between good and evil. This distinction is presented through the monsters Grendel and his mother, in parallel to the hero Beowulf. The themes of evil and monstrosity are therefore used in the story, as a way to create the notion of Grendel and his mother as monsters. Beowulf therefore appears as a character representing good. Although Beowulf shows traits of abnormal power, like Grendel and his mother, his motifs are interpreted differently.
Grendel was a being sung about in the songs of the shaper, who twisted tales to fit his own means. In the song Grendel was made out to be a wretched monster, without intellect, who only sought to kill. This wasn’t the case entirely. Grendel was determined to enter society, to be a part of their gatherings, instead at every turn he was chased away, cursed, and attacked. He was only a monster to those in the mead hall, a beast who could never be a part of them.
Readers can learn some things about Grendel in Beowulf but in order to dive deeper into the character and who he is, people go to the book Grendel. The book takes a closer look at Grendel and how he discovers the order and disorder of people and the world (Sanchez). Grendel is thought to symbolize the dark side of humanity, or the sins of man (Farrell). It’s easy for readers to sympathize with Grendel at points because he is a natural outcast of society. He is said to be the son of Cain and because of that he was labeled from day one (Sanchez).
Both authors paint a grotesque picture of their creations and how they both desire to destroy beauty; Aesthetic Iconoclasm, that is shared between the two figures. However, both authors present their monsters separate to one another in philosophy; with Grendel being a mindless savage and the Monster being more contemplative and questioning the nature of its own creation. ‘Monster’ characters have always been a target of both folk tales and pagan myths since the dawn of humanity, the very concept of a monstrous creature harkens back to the primal fear instinct of facing a dangerous predator that presents a danger to humanity. Grendel from Beowulf is the perfect example of this hysteria and
This is the beginning of Grendel falling directly into the role that the dragon said he would need to fill. Grendel’s murderous tendencies completely reflect the monstrous side of his personality and the more he kills the more he grows insane, separating from rational, humanistic thought. “I am swollen with excitement, bloodlust and joy and a strange fear that mingle in my chest like the twisting rage of a bone-fire... I am blazing, half-crazy with joy” (168). It is clear that, by the time Beowulf arrives, Grendel has embraced the fact that he is required to be evil, despite the fact that he previously claimed he would oppose that destiny.
Grendel was this grim beast who haunted the moors and secluded fens; this troublesome one had long lived with monsters since the Creator had declared his exile. Grendel had been punished and separated from the company of man and God through the sins of Cain. Being a descendant from Cain, Grendel is full of evil and deceitfulness. This fuels his hatred, and a desire to destroy goodness from the world of which he can have no part in. His first night of violent attacks was describe as “The unholy creature, grim and ravenous, was ready at once, ruthless and cruel, and took from their thirty thanes; thence
The common characteristics of what makes a monster have remained constant throughout society: evil, isolated, violent. Monsters have no regards for social normatives, and cause chaos and destruction wherever they go. Grendel is no exception. In Beowulf, Grendel manifests every characteristic of a stereotypical monster. He is considered inherently evil, and is an outcast; he roams alone and commits devilish atrocities whenever he pleases.
Grendel in both stories is described as a vicious "Monster", but is viewed differently. The character of Grendel, in the novel by John Gardner, portrays a different visualization than that of Grendel in the epic poem Beowulf. In the novel the story is told in first person point of view which gives Grendel human qualities while Grendel in Beowulf is told in third person point of view not giving Grendel his standpoint. In both works, the authors give two different perspectives of Grendel. Grendel in the novel is not seen as a "Monster", but as a human that has emotions and is very sympathetic about everything that comes his way.
Whereas, Beowulf’s encounter with the dragon. He knows that the dragon was truly a monster without any human characteristics. Whereas, Grendel possess human characteristics such as a human form and share mutual values such as a place to meet, meadhall. Grendel simply represent an alternative darker side of humanity, which is reflected in his underwater sea cave. Compared to the dragon, Grendel is more human than monstrous.
Being an epic hero, Beowulf was very brave and battled many immortal creatures. One monster he came across was Grendel. “Conceived by a pair of the monster born of Cain, murderous creatures banned by God..,”(44), Hrothgar’s men would say. This is a reference from the Bible, showing the evil portrayed in the monster Grendel. This monster went to Herot and killed thirty men just because he was hungry.