What Grendel Means To Be Human

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Although Grendel is a protagonist, he is also an intellectual and erratic monster, capable of rational thought as well as irrational bursts of emotion. But is knowing that he is a protagonist is merely a small point in this large thesis, or a vanquish itself? I would lean more towards vanquish; mainly due to the fact that although he is a monster, he displays many basic human qualities. As a successor of Cain, Grendel shares a basic line with humans. However, rather than draw Grendel and humankind closer together, this past draws them farther apart. Using a monster to help us examine what it means to be human is how the novel helps readers to make that distinction between humans, and monsters. Indeed, aside from Grendel’s horrible appearance and nasty eating habits, very little actually separated him aside from the humans such as Hrothgar or Wealtheow. Even his extreme brutality was not unique. The author, John Gardner, stresses man’s inherent violence many times throughout the novel. Additionally, Grendel’s ethical journey was a very human one, its urgency intensified by his status as an outsider. …show more content…

In the first stage of his childhood, he spent innocently exploring his confined world, undisturbed by the outside universe. Grendel’s discovery of the lake of fire snakes and the land beyond it was his first introduction to the big world, one full of danger and risk. As such, crossing the lake was a crucial step for Grendel in his move toward adulthood. The second step, which decisively made Grendel an adult, occurred when the bull attacked him. This prompted him to realize that the world was essentially hectic, and in no particular

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