Internal Conflict In Grendel

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In the novel Grendel by John Gardner, Grendel’s largest internal conflict is whether or not he can overcome his predestined status of monster. Throughout the course of the story Grendel is influenced by both sides, human and beast, through the dragon and the Shaper. Although Grendel initially wants to align himself with the humans, no matter how he tries to communicate with them as an equal they will not accept his company, causing him to become lonely and angry. Grendel’s anger turns to violence, which makes the humans turn further against him and, as he is alienated from any sense of humanity he ever had, he eventually discovers that he has no choice and must fulfill his role as the enemy to humans. Initially, Grendel’s free will…show more content…
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. His violent nature grew so much that he became crazy with the need to kill the humans. Therefore, Grendel’s actions reflect that his existence has drifted away from its partially civilized nature and into the barbaric. Grendel had no choice in becoming more beast than human because external forces constantly push him towards that fate. Whether it was the dragon, the actions of the humans, or Grendel’s own unconscious tendencies, he never really had the opportunity to make a choice, human or beast. What Grendel said and thought always clashed with the situations he encountered until there was simply no possibility of becoming the good in the way he initially
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