Nihilism In 'Grendel' By John Gardner

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In the book, Grendel many theories were introduced. These theories were introduced because of the author, John Gardner, who wanted to go through the main ideas of Western Civilization and because Gardner wanted to relate the book to faith and reason. The theories that Gardner introduced were existentialism, nihilism, anarchy, and modernism. Although the theory that was constantly used by many of the characters was nihilism. Nihilism is a theory that moral principles and beliefs are meaningless and that life is useless and meaningless. All religious and moral principles are ignored. The first time that nihilism was probably used was in 1829 in an article of the Messenger of Europe. Although the time periods in which nihilism was relevant was during the 19th and 20th centuries. During the 19th century in Russia, the reign of Tsar Alexander II lead to the breakdown of traditional morality. Nihilists did not agree with the power of the state, church, or family. They believed that the solution to anything was science. While in the 20th century nihilism allowed for the development of new ideas whether they be aesthetic or philosophical.…show more content…
Although two people that had a great influence on nihilism were Friedrich Nietzsche and Charles Darwin. Nietzsche was a German philosopher, an essayist, and a cultural critic. Many of Nietzsche 's writings involved the meaning of life and the death of God. His writings left many to question the meaning of life. While Charles Darwin influenced nihilism because of his scientific theories. Darwin challenged the idea that animals and human beings were indifferent and the doctrine of the divine rights of kings. Darwin believed that the origin of all living things were scientific not because of biblical faith. This influenced nihilism because many people began to question how they evolved although some people rejected Darwin 's ideas of
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