Gardner's Use Of The Three Philosophies In Grendel

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Nathan Beck Mr. Arcuri College Prep Senior English 21 September 2015 Grendel Philosophy Philosophy is a theoretical thought held by a person or group of people, to make decisions that they believe to be right. John Gardner uses many of these philosophies, in his novel Grendel. Throughout the book the main character, Grendel, shifts from philosophical idea to philosophical idea as he attempts to understand the world around him. Although there are many philosophical ideas present within the novel, there were three major philosophical ideas that were present throughout the novel that lead Grendel on his quest to understand the world around him. Existentialism is the philosophical theory based on the idea that each individual person is free and …show more content…

By doing this, they add meaning to their lives. Whereas Nihilism is belief that everything in life has no meaning. The New Testament ideology expresses forgiveness, peace, and redemption. All three of these philosophical ideas play a major role throughout Grendel, adding more depth to the novel as he toils with each philosophical idea in an attempt to make sense of this complicated world. Of the three philosophies, existentialism was the first complicated situation that entered Grendel’s mind. Even though Grendel visited with the dragon, who had a more nihilistic view on life, he had not been so convinced that life had no meaning. While Grendel was visiting the dragon, the dragon casts a charm on Grendel, making him invulnerable to weapons. Soon after this spell was cast, Grendel begins raiding Hrothgar’s mead hall. “Some three or fur nights later I launched my first raid. I burst in …show more content…

The dragon’s views about the world had finally gotten to him. After witnessing a goat mindlessly climb a mountain, and the death of the Shaper, Grendel’s final outlook on life becomes clear. “Nihil ex nihilo, I always say" (Gardner 150). This statement translates to nothing can come of nothing; it becomes clear Grendel views life as meaningless and pointless. His internal battle of philosophical beliefs came to a final halt, and never changed once he accepted nihilism. “Gardner explores many philosophical themes within its stream-of-consciousness narrative, and the novel may best be seen not as the clash of hero and monster, but as a clash of visions — the creative artistic vision of the Shaper, who sees the world as ordered and meaningful, and the nihilistic vision of the Dragon, who sees the world as disordered and meaningless.” Describing the philosophical class of beliefs between Grendel, the reason for his acceptance of nihilism can be easily understood. The Shaper kept Grendel from accepting nihilism. Once the Shaper died so did any hope for a positive outlook on life from

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