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...
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...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.
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