Compare And Contrast Beowulf And Grendel

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Never judge a book by its cover. This is a very common quote but it’s applicable to many different situations. In the epic Beowulf, translated by Burton Raffel, the main character battles a terrifying monster named Grendel. John Gardner’s novel, Grendel retells the story of Beowulf from not-so-terrifying Grendel’s perspective. As the stories both recall, Grendel had been attacking Hrothgar’s mead hall and killing many men. Though the Danes viewed Grendel as a terrible monster, he’s really just a misunderstood troublemaker. In Beowulf, Grendel is described as a powerful shadow of death that lacks feelings and comprehension of life itself. As well as pure evil in which he cannot snuff out his evil flame, no matter how many murders he commits. …show more content…

(Beowulf 720-277)
Here Grendel is portrayed as a strong monster who strides across the mead hall with snarling teeth and eyes engulfed with evil. In Beowulf, Grendel is the horror of the story and this is proven many times.

In contrast with Beowulf’s emotionless monster, Gardner gives Grendel many human-like qualities. Grendel clearly states his opinion that he is superior to other animals. This is made clear as Grendel describes the stupidity of a ram who is eager to mate with the nearest female. “‘Why can’t these creatures discover a little dignity?’ I ask the sky. The sky says nothing, predictably. I make a face, uplift a defiant middle finger and give an obscene little kick.” (Grendel p. 6) This quote exemplifies Grendel’s superiority above other animals, his ability to speak, and his emotions towards the ‘sky’ (God). On page 7 of Grendel, Grendel is smashing trees and he sarcastically remarks “’No offense,’ I say, with a terrible, sycophantish smile, and tip an imaginary hat.” Here Grendel reveals his sarcasm to the readers, adding to the list of Grendel’s human-like …show more content…

If Hrothgar’s people hadn’t poked and prodded Grendel with their swords and spears when he was young, Grendel might not have gone on joyous killing sprees. Though Grendel prefers beef instead of human flesh, he still finds ways to enjoy the sprees. Grendel explains one of these instances to us. “I am no stranger here. A respected guest. Eleven years now and going on twelve I have… knocked politely on the high oak door.” (Grendel p. 12) Another instance is when he encounters the brave Dane, Unferth who wants to be the hero the Danes need. “[Unferth’s] voice broke. He lifted his sword to run at me, and I laughed—howled—and threw an apple at him. He dodged, and then his mouth dropped open. I laughed harder, threw another.” (Grendel p. 85) Here Grendel has a little fun with Unferth torturing him to his breaking point. Grendel hates human flesh yet he still goes on these attacks to have a little fun in his life instead of being stuck in his

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