Nihilism In Beowulf

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At the beginning of the story, Grendel is a cynical character full of sarcastic and inappropriate remarks, such as when he says “...tickling his gross, lopsided balls...” (Gardner 6). Despite, his cynicism, he actually gives off a very playful and childish vibe. Much like a child that ask a lot of question, his mind runs wild, asking questions about and to the “sky” in a comical manner. Then, as the story proceeds, Grendel is faced with several characters that changes his outlook and changes the overall tone of the story. The first person he meets that fundamentally changes him is Hrothgar. As he observes him from afar, he “suddenly knew (he) was dealing with no dull mechanical bull but thinking creatures, pattern makers, the most dangerous things (he’d) ever met” (Gardner 26).…show more content…
He no longer has the undertone of a child, rather, more of a man going through hard times. He believes that the gods had defied him a “rejection of the gods that, for (his) part, (he’d) known all along to be lifeless sticks” (Gardner 52). Later when Grendel talks to the dragon, the dragon reminds Grendel of his true self, that “nothing interests him (except) excitement, violence.” (Gardner 67). While to an extent, this is true, there are some parts to this that isn’t true, otherwise Grendel could not be a dynamic character. Grendel has changed from a impressionable and inquisitive cynical monster in the beginning, to a grieving child of Cain, longing for purpose. From this, he then transitions into a very aggressive monster, attacking ruthlessly but not without thought. After Grendel meets Beowulf, another character that his once again influenced his thought killing him, he slowly dies and finally understands everything he’s gone through. His last lines “Poor Grendel's had an accident," (He) whispers. "So may you all.” is not exactly a curse, but a blessing (Gardner
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