Is Grendel Good Or Evil

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Throughout the novel Grendel by John Gardner, Grendel comes across as a ruthless monster who takes pride in murdering others. His actions give the impression that he is an evil figure, but in hindsight he is not as evil as he appears to be. Gardner makes the readers feel sympathy for Grendel because Grendel lives a lonely life, is consistently treated poorly, and attempts to make peace. If Grendel was truly evil, readers would have difficulty having sympathy for him. Therefore, Grendel is not evil and is no different than the rest of humanity. Early in the novel, Grendel listens to the Shaper and says “he told of an ancient feud between two brothers which split all the world between darkness and light. And I, Grendel, was the dark side” (Gardner 51). Grendel believes the words of the Shaper and is overcome with sadness at the truth in it. In most cases, truly evil characters take pride in being viewed as threatening figures. Grendel, on the other hand, is ashamed and does not wish to be viewed as a dark figure. In response, Grendel runs to the hall and shouts “Mercy! Peace!” (51). His willingness to ask for peace shows the remorse he feels for his actions. He realizes his actions have resulted in him being viewed by others in a negative…show more content…
He attempts to make peace, his actions are no different than those of others, and he is experiencing resentment. Although there is no excuse for murdering others, Grendel does not kill for the fun of it. His actions are just reactions to emotions he is experiencing. Furthermore, his willingness to make peace emphasizes the remorse he feels for the crimes he has committed. This also shows that he acted impulsively because of his strong feelings of resentment. Feelings resentful of others, and reacting to this emotion does not necessarily make you evil. Even the best of people make mistakes. Although Grendel has made some horrible mistakes, he is not evil. He’s just like
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