Comparing Beowulf And John Gardner 's Grendel Essay

Comparing Beowulf And John Gardner 's Grendel Essay

Length: 1072 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Throughout the classical poem Beowulf and John Gardner 's Grendel, society’s treatment of Beowulf and Grendel distorted two otherwise fundamentally similar characters into different monsters. While both characters suffered through the same passion of wanting to belong in the human society, the treatment of Beowulf widely differed from the abuse inflicted on Grendel out of fear. Beowulf was shunned as a youth for seeming weak, but was still treated as human. He grew to be a courageous warrior with enough insecurity to continue his ambitions of obtaining fame through boasting, defending, and killing. Grendel also craved to be accepted by society, but was instead attacked because of his demonic nature. His loneliness was skewed by human behavior, and he began killing people based off of the hostility he had been exposed to. The shared ambition of being accepted by a community warped their characters where society pushes them, as Beowulf’s insecurity and humanity created a brutal hero and Grendel’s loneliness and monstrous appearance bred a bored murderer.
Despite Beowulf’s confident and boastful status as a warrior in the present poem, his youth was filled with more turmoil. He was “poorly regarded” (Beowulf, 2183), and it was “believed that he lacked force” (Beowulf, 2187). Adopted by the King, Beowulf later became a courageous hero. Insecurity flashed when Beowulf defended himself to Unferth, as he took defence a step further the necessary by claiming that Unferth would go to Hell for killing his brother. Belittling another man in order to boast and inflate one’s self is a flaw seen in both Beowulf and Unferth. The need to prove himself of worth resurfaced after the fight with the dragon. As he died, he told Wiglaf to bring him t...


... middle of paper ...


...e for reasons other than consumption was a waste of resources, and scorned the humans for doing so. This included the killing of enemy livestock, shooting birds for sport, and murdering one another. Yet, after being noticed and attacked by guardsmen, Grendel adopts this nature that he had watched for countless years as he begins his raids on Hart. If he cannot obtain companionship despite being peaceful, then he must follow the behavior the humans have shown him. He derives pleasure purely through this interaction with people that he cannot obtain from any other creature, as well as an outlet for anger. His loneliness is not absolved as he returns to a bored state, keeping enough alive in hopes to one day remediate it. Like Beowulf, Grendel found a rival in Unferth that blossomed a sadistic interest that kept Grendel entertained before he met his match and was killed.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

A Comparison of Grendel in Beowulf and John Gardner's Grendel Essay

- In both works, Beowulf and Grendel, Grendel himself is generally given the same connotations. He is given kennings, called names, referred to as the evil spawn of Cain, and even viewed as a monster; but why. Why in both books is he a wicked, horrible, person who is harshly excluded from everyone. After stumbling upon John Gardner's book, it was halfway expected that some excuse would be made for Grendel; that he wasn't really the inexorable monster the thanes in Beowulf portrayed him as. But all it really did was make him worse....   [tags: John Gardner Beowulf]

Better Essays
740 words (2.1 pages)

Analysis Of ' Grendel ' By John Gardner Essay

- T.S. Eliot, a poet, playwright, and literary critic, once stated, “People exercise an unconscious selection in being influenced.” Naturally, every experience people have and every person they meet leaves an impact on their lives. Whether positive or negative, outside influences can alter the way one thinks, acts, and even views the world. In John Gardner’s novel, Grendel, Grendel encounters numerous characters who play vital roles in the shaping and development of his overall persona. Though much of Grendel’s time was spent in his cave or spying in the woods, what minimal public contact he actually shared spurred major lasting impressions....   [tags: Life, Meaning of life, John Gardner]

Better Essays
1186 words (3.4 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)

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 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)

Curiosity in Grendel by John Gardner and Beowulf and Grendel, by Sturla Gunnarsson

- The book Grendel by John Gardner and the movie Beowulf and Grendel directed by Sturla Gunnarsson both portray the theme of curiosity. In both the book and the movie there are characters that have the trait of intellectual curiosity, and there are also those who lack this trait. In the book, Grendel’s personality contains this trait and Beowulf’s character does not, but in the movie Beowulf is the one with this trait, not Grendel. Grendel’s character in the book and Beowulf’s character in the movie both have an intellectual curiosity which seems to drive them to find out the truth....   [tags: Movie, Film]

Better Essays
1165 words (3.3 pages)

A Comparison of Nihilistic and Christian Archetypes in Beowulf and John Gardner's Grendel

- Grendel, Beowulf and the Relationship Between Nihilistic and Christian Archetypes The Wisdom god, Woden, went out to the king of trolls…and demanded to know how order might triumph over chaos. “Give me your left eye,” said the king of trolls, “and I’ll tell you.” Without hesitation, Woden gave up his left eye. “Now tell me.” The troll said, “The secret is, Watch with both eyes!” Woden’s left eye was the last sure hope of gods and men in their kingdom of light surrounded by darkness. All we have left is Thor’s hammer, which represents not brute force but art, or, counting both hammerheads, art and criticism… The philosophies expressed in the Beowulf epic complement the exploration of exi...   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Better Essays
2157 words (6.2 pages)

Comparing the Act of Creation in Grendel and Frankenstein Essay

- The Act of Creation in Grendel and Frankenstein    Man has always been driven to create. We constantly shape the world around us by inventing stories of heroes and monsters, by crafting complex but passionate ideals about good and evil. Some relish in the power that this manipulation of reality wields; others are more innocent in that they are simply yielding to a universal longing for something in which to believe.   In both John Gardner's Grendel and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, creation is a central theme....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Better Essays
1212 words (3.5 pages)

A Comparison of the Grendel of Beowulf and Gardner's Grendel Essay

- A Comparison of the Grendel of Beowulf and Gardner's Grendel The novel Grendel by John Gardner portrays a significantly different picture of Grendel than the epic poem Beowulf paints. Grendel is a non-human being who posses human qualities. In either story it is not specified what type of being Grendel is, nor does it tell of what exactly Grendel looks like. The only idea the reader has of the sight of Grendel is the small hints either author gives. We know he stands on two feet as humans do, we know he is covered in hair, and we know he is monstrous....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Free Essays
951 words (2.7 pages)

John Gardner's Grendel Essay

- John Gardner's Grendel The archeologist's eyes combine the view of the telescope and the view of the microscope. He reconstructs the very distant with the help of the very small. - Thornton Wilder These words, uttered by Thornton Wilder regarding his play Our Town express the antithesis of nihilism, a philosophy which stresses the lack of objective truth. Nihilism, as well as existentialism and a host of other philosophies are boldly explored in Grendel, a novel by John Gardner....   [tags: Grendel Essays]

Better Essays
843 words (2.4 pages)