Essay on Analysis Of John Gardner 's Grendel

Essay on Analysis Of John Gardner 's Grendel

Length: 1054 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

As children, we were taught that good and evil were black and white terms. The fairy tales that our parents would read to us have conditioned us to believe that characters such as the princess in distress or the prince in shining armour were nothing but friendly and good, while the troll guarding his own bridge or the fire-breathing dragon were the most frighteningly evil creatures of all. However, as we grew up, we learned that these distinctions are never so easily black and white, but more-so different shades of grey. We learned that the characters that we initially deemed evil had reasons for acting that way, and most of them out of their control. Such is the case with the main character in John Gardner’s Grendel. The character Grendel was originally introduced in the epic of Beowulf, and was depicted as the traditional wicked monster, but in Grendel, Gardner challenges our original conditioning by offering the monster’s side of the story. With Grendel’s views introduced to the mix, the reader sees that his behavior results from the human’s discrimination of him, which is solely based on their black and white, good vs. evil beliefs. Grendel then uses their views to prove he is not entirely evil by showing them that their heroes are not completely good. Through damaging the reputations of Ork, the blind priest, Unferth, the beloved hero, and Wealtheow, the beautiful queen, Grendel attempts to make the humans lose their ridiculous sense of good and evil.
After becoming disgusted with the meaningless religious ceremonies of the Scyldings, Grendel uses his meeting with Ork, the eldest priest, to attempt to prove to himself and the readers that their religion is only for show. One winter night, he encounters the old, blind pries...


... middle of paper ...


...e describes her “unqueenly shrieks” as if they were the “squeals of a pig” (Grendel 109). As he contemplates what to do next he notices the acts of those around him. “No one would defend her, not even suicidal Unferth” he explains, even after she calls for help, yet they were all willing to pray to their “dead stick-gods” to save her (Grendel 109). The gods do nothing. In his single act of threatening the queen, Grendel reveals that the queen is no angel, that Unferth is no hero, and the gods no help to the humans.
Through these actions, Grendel tries to prove to himself and to the Scyldings that nothing is ever completely good or evil. If their most pure and brave candidates couldn’t be proven to be fully good, how could they say that he is completely evil? What Grendel tries to teach to the humans is a basic fact of life: you cannot have good without having evil.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Analysis Of Grendel, By John Gardner Essay

- When a child is asked what a hero is, they often respond with saying that they’re a person who has powers and beats up bad guys. But then when asked what a ‘bad guy’ is, they say that it would be someone who hurts people. But then heroes and villains are the same. So the hero is described by perspective. A villain might commit horrible acts yet still think that he is a hero who is helping a city. In John Gardner, author of Grendel, plays with the gray area between a hero and a villain throughout his novel, provoking ideas about what the essence of a hero is....   [tags: Meaning of life, Beowulf, Nihilism, Hroðgar]

Better Essays
1715 words (4.9 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of John Gardner 's Grendel

- As children, we were taught that good and evil were black and white terms. The fairy tales that our parents would read to us have conditioned us to believe that characters such as the princess in distress or the prince in shining armour were nothing but friendly and good, while the troll guarding his own bridge or the fire-breathing dragon were the most frighteningly evil creatures of all. However, as we grew up, we learned that these distinctions are never so easily black and white, but more-so different shades of grey....   [tags: Good and evil, God, Evil, Beowulf]

Better Essays
1054 words (3 pages)

Analysis Of ' The Novel ' Grendel ' By John Gardner Essay

- Curiosity Kills Various people know that “curiosity killed the cat” but that is not the initial statement. In 1598, during Every Man in His Humour by English playwright Ben Jonson, the expression was first known as “care’ll kill a cat” (1). This phrase doesn’t implicate care as to nurture or tend to, but rather worry or sorrow. The remark “curiosity killed the cat” is commonly used when one wants another to stop asking nonessential questions. Much like the cat in the play, the 1971 novel Grendel by John Gardner, also holds a beast curious about his life and surroundings....   [tags: Human, Meaning of life, Life, Question]

Better Essays
1272 words (3.6 pages)

Essay on Bravery and Character Flaws Exposed in Beowulf and Grendel

- The various adaptations of the Beowulf legend provide a form of courageousness. The following are sources concerning the Beowulf myth: Grendel, a novel by John Gardner, and Beowulf and Grendel, a film directed by Sturla Gunnarson. These pieces contain acts of genuine bravery, but they also depict instances where lack of courage is shown. The prevalence of bravery juxtaposed with cowardice within the novel and the film suggests that acts of heroism are situational and dependent upon one’s exhibited characteristics at any given occasion....   [tags: Beowulf, Grendel]

Better Essays
1310 words (3.7 pages)

John Gardner´s Grendel: An Epic Struggle Between Good and Evil Essay

- Part of the development of a human being involves acquiring the ability to classify good and evil as well as distinguishing right from wrong. It has become an inherent trait that is invariably used in our everyday lives. In John Gardner’s novel, Grendel, the main character, Grendel, seeks to find the meaning of life. Through his journey, a depiction of the forces of good and evil is revealed. Aside from being a novel about the search for the meaning of life, Grendel also suggest society’s good and evil have a meaningful and imbalanced relationship where good prevails evil yet facing evil is still critical....   [tags: life, journey, relationship, good, evil]

Better Essays
806 words (2.3 pages)

Grendel Essay

- In 1971, American author John Gardner wrote Grendel. With a mastermind of creativity, John Gardner successfully retells the classic epic poem, Beowulf. He captures the reader by giving an interesting view of order and chaos, good and evil, hero and monster, allowing the monsters point of view to be seen. On July 21, 1933 John Gardner was born in Batavia, New York. He was the son of a preacher and diary, and his mother taught English. They were very fond of Shakespeare and loved to recite literature....   [tags: Literary Analysis, John Garner]

Better Essays
1163 words (3.3 pages)

Beowulf’s Loyalty Epitomizes the Anglo-Saxon Culture Essay

- Introduction: Beowulf is an Old English epic poem that was set in Scandinavia and it consist of more than 3000 lines. It is known for being one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature and has no known author. There is also a computer-animated movie of the same name directed by Robert Zemeckis which with the cast of Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich and Angelina Jolie. The movie and epic were similar in a number of ways however the movie detracts from the original essence of the Anglo Saxon text....   [tags: epic poetry, Grendel, John Gardner]

Better Essays
1940 words (5.5 pages)

Analysis Of Grendel And Beowulf Essay

- Point of View in Grendel and Beowulf Contrasting points of view in Grendel and Beowulf significantly alter the reader’s perception of religion, good and evil, and the character Grendel. John Gardner’s book, Grendel, is written in first person. The book translated by Burton Raffel, Beowulf, is written in third person. Good and evil is one of the main conflicts in the poem Beowulf. How is Grendel affected by the concepts of good and evil. Grendel is an alienated individual who just wants to be a part of something....   [tags: essays research papers]

Better Essays
1243 words (3.6 pages)

Essay on Existentialism In Grendel

- Existentialism In Grendel The debate between existentialism and the rest of the world is a fierce, albeit recent one. Before the "dawn of science" and the Age Of Reason, it was universally accepted that there were such things as gods, right and wrong, and heroism. However, with the developing interest in science and the mechanization of the universe near the end of the Renaissance, the need for a God was essentially removed, and humankind was left to reconsider the origin of meaning. John Gardner’s intelligently written Grendel is a commentary on the merits and flaws of both types of worldview: the existentialist "meaning-free" universe, and the heroic universe, where every action is...   [tags: essays papers]

Better Essays
1611 words (4.6 pages)

Essay on Satire in John Gardner's Grendel

- Satire in Grendel "The state is an organization of violence, a monopoly in what it is pleased to call legitimate violence (Gardner, 119)." This excerpt from John Gardner's Grendel shows one of the many issues he deals with in his satire of man, and that is the issue of the use of violence in society. Gardner shows this throughout the book, but most prominently in chapter eight, in which we learn of the arrival of Hrothulf, Hrothgar's nephew, at Herot. Hrothgar recognizes the evil in Hrothgar's kingdom....   [tags: John Gardner Grendel ]

Better Essays
613 words (1.8 pages)