Grendel's Loss Of Innocence Analysis

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Grendel by John Gardner has captured the attention of all who have read it and expresses the eventual loss of Grendel’s innocence. Grendel is depicted as a mass murderer in the original Anglo-Saxon epic poem and under normal circumstances one would not second guess that Grendel’s death was well deserved. However, opinions may change when one discovers that the monster is unaware of morals or has dealt with issues that corrupt his innocence.
Grendel grew up lonely and his childhood was rather negative, ultimately changing his views of the world. In Chapter two Grendel wondered all the way to the human world where he ended up getting stuck in a tree. At this point Grendel calls for his mother and to his surprise, she is not there to rescue
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This is why Grendel is still innocent in a way. Sadly, when it comes down to whether Grendel is a horrid creature or not, the actions speak louder than words. When Grendel first arrived at Hrothgar’s mead hall and coldheartedly ravaged the entire community, he had thrown away his innocence that exact moment. Twelve years of raids and Grendel still enjoyed every reaction that the murders caused. After he is finished ravaging the mead hall, he drags off some of the victims bodies, where he devours them and laughs as he does so. However, every morning the meat of the humans sits sourly in his stomach and he is filled with guilt and is depressed once again. If one had no clue of Grendel’s past they would not hesitate to call Grendel a horrifying monster. Although his past is heart wrenching, it is still no excuse for his villainous…show more content…
Grendel’s habitual attacks were uncalled for no matter how corrupt the Danes were. Grendel consistently matures throughout the story and is fully aware that he is killing men without mercy. He tries to excuse it by claiming that his attacks give the Danes honor in their passing; saying he” made men what they are “and, “as their creator”, he has a right to test them (41). His opinion on the men’s murders proves that Grendel has no regard for human life. In Grendel, Grendel does speak of himself as no more honorable or brave than any brainless animal. He call himself “Pointless, ridiculous monster crouched in the shadows, stinking of dead men, murdered children, martyred cows.”(6), Grendel’s nihilism is exhibited in Chapter One when he spots the signs of spring and also notes places where he has committed extreme acts of violence. Him admitting his wrongs but having no remorse expresses that he knew what he was doing yet did not care who he hurt.
The answer of whether or not Grendel was a truly evil monster can’t really be determined due to it being a matter of opinion. However, the most common definition for monster from Webster’s Dictionary is “one who deviates from normal or acceptable behavior or character.” This being known, Grendel does fit into the role of being a monster seeing as murder is rarely ever acceptable in human

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