Grendel's Fate Or Free Will In Beowulf?

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The opposition between fate and free will has become a reoccurring theme in literary works, motion pictures, and everyday life. In these moments, the audience questions whether characters are living out their destiny or if they are doing things on their own accord. In fact, in the Old-English epic poem Beowulf, many characters show copious amounts of evidence for both living out their fate versus acting at their own discretion. Although many will argue that Grendel acts upon his own thoughts, many textual excerpts from Beowulf point to the idea that Grendel is living his destiny.
For one thing, Grendel is born as a monster. Grendel could have been born as anything, but the fact that he was born as a monster explains that his fate was for him to live out as just that. By analyzing his mother’s actions, Grendel seems to do things that he was raised to do as. When she “ripped / and tore and clawed at him, and bit holes in his helmet” show the monster aspects of what Grendel up with and was taught (Beowulf 482). Furthermore, when Grendel asks why they live this way to his mother, his mother
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He is a descendent of Cain, who killed his brother Abel. Because of this, God marked Cain and his descendents to all be despised by men. As seen in Beowulf, the story suggests that Grendel is related to Cain: “..monsters born of Cain, murderous creatures banished / by God, punished forever for the crime / of Abel’s death” (Beowulf 20-23). Moreover, society does not accept Grendel for the way he is; therefore they retaliate and fight against him because he is different from everyone else. As the King talks to Beowulf for the first time, he exclaims that Grendel “has brought them much trouble” and “surely Lord Almighty / could stop his madness and smother his lust” (Beowulf 209, 212) This proves that Grendel is not accepted in their society and that they want to rid of him and everything that he has
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