To invalidate the argument that Grendel is evil due to his actions, readers should first examine Gardner’s description of Grendel’s evil impulses. Grendel, while listening to the Shaper’s song, mused at how “. . they’d [the men, women, and children listening] shriek if I suddenly showed I face. . . but I held myself back,” (Gardner 50). For a reason which is unbeknownst to the reader, Grendel chooses to refrain from his compulsion to do evil. That is not to say that there is not a source of malice within the ogre; the wretched creature acknowledges “some evil inside [himself]” more than once within the novel (Gardner 54). However, many religions ...
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...tend that the novel’s main character, Grendel, is guilty of evil by virtue of his vile actions. However, Gardner’s description of Grendel’s resistance to evil impulses and capability of human emotions suggest that Grendel is simply responding to his environment. Furthermore, Gardner deftly accrues readers’ sympathies towards Grendel, making it difficult for the empathetic reader to condemn the monster ex officio. By forging connections between humanity and his protagonist, Gardner indicates that readers are equally as guilty of sin as Grendel. Through this implication, he insinuates that humans are unqualified to judge Grendel’s actions, and, perhaps, each other. After all, if Grendel can be called evil, can the same not be said of all of mankind? The novel’s ultimate truth seems to harken back to Tupac Shakur’s assertion that, “Only God can judge me,” (Tupac Shakur).
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