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

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

Length: 806 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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.
The relationship between good and evil is generally morality against immorality and has a major role in the novel. An action that is life preserving and sacrificial is believed to be “good” in our modern society. King Hrothgar’s wife, Wealtheow, is a complete representation of this concept. When tensions run high between the two kings, King Hygmod offers his daughter as “Wealtheow, or holy servant of common good” to King Hrothgar to preserve their peaceful environment (Gardner 100). King Hygmod’s description of her as a “servant” exemplifies the sacrifice of her personal life for assistance in maintaining peace between the two kings. On the other hand, degradation and hurt and overall suffrage created by one’s activity determines the denotation of the word “evil.” This idea is best resembled by Grendel’s feelings toward a statement made by the Dragon he meets on his journey. He is shocked to find that the dragon “could lie” and “that [h]e was evil enough” to do so (Gardner 71). The lie is what degrades Grendel as a person and he interprets as evil. These antithetical opposites of nature are connected because of their strong ef...


... middle of paper ...


... by murdering Grendel, this action is expressed as moral. This idea is reconfirmed when the Dragon explains to Grendel how he is “the brute existent by which they learn to define themselves” in reference to men (Gardner 73). This further suggests that society requires evil to present them an explanation for their life and actions.
Through the analysis of characters and their actions, the novel Grendel suggests society has adopted good and evil’s unequal relationship for meaningfulness in life. The modern society is built on the opposite forces of nature and that evil must be challenged although good prevails it. However, evil and good is subjective which makes the true struggle between good and evil. Moreover, our every day actions are differentiated between good and evil acts. Unfortunately, while this occurs, good and evil will never be a black and white concept.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay on Do the Evil Deserve Sympathy in Grendel or Beowulf?

- According to Dictionary.com Sympathy can be defined as “the fact or power of sharing the feelings of another, esp. in sorrow or trouble; fellow feeling, compassion, or commiseration.” (dictionary.reference.com/browse/Sympathy) Pertinently this definition, as well as the information provided after reading both, The Poem Beowulf translated by Burton Raffel. and the novel Grendel by John Gardner, it appears evident that the character Grendel gains more sympathy from the reader than that of the character Beowulf....   [tags: Epic Poems, Grendel, Anglo-Saxon]

Better Essays
1077 words (3.1 pages)

The Characters' Personalities in "Grendel" and "Beowulf" Essay

- The book Grendel, written by John Gardner, and the poem Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, both have very distinct opinions on what role each character plays. The translator of Beowulf and the writer of Grendel follow the idea that everyone has a story. A story is the writer’s perspective on a character’s personality, the way people in the story see and treat the character, and the way it ties the ideas together. There are many examples in these two writings of this concept, but the main instances connect with the lives of Grendel, Beowulf, and Unferth....   [tags: Epic Poems, Grendel, Anglo-Saxon]

Better Essays
1008 words (2.9 pages)

Grendel and Beowulf Essay

- Living life as a human being is a very difficult task for us humans to accomplish, yet we are doing so. Many works of literature have a character that portrays something on or about life. Three characters of well known novels will carry on with this function. On John Gardners, Grendel the main character Grendel is very confused of the life he is living. He is in search of his purpose in life, what he doesn’t realize at the beginning is his purpose is to be the villain. The humans in the novel are terrified of Grendel because to them he is a beast....   [tags: Epic Poems, Grendel, Anglo-Saxon]

Better Essays
629 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)

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)

Essay about A Modern Grendel

- In the epic poem Beowulf, the monster Grendel is depicted as a villainous beast with an unquenchable thirst for human flesh and blood. Grendel, written by John Gardner, though, offers a more nuanced depiction of the beast by describing the events in Beowulf through Grendel's narration. Throughout the story, Grendel adopts various romantic characteristics and beliefs including isolation, individualism, and mysticism. These romantic characteristics, though, foster Grendel's murderous intentions and in turn gives him an anti-hero persona....   [tags: Literature, Beowulf]

Free Essays
948 words (2.7 pages)

grendelbeo Who is the Monster - Beowulf or Grendel? Essay

- Who is the Monster - Beowulf or Grendel. My first impression of Beowulf was that of an enigmatic, somewhat esoteric work, a necessary evil on the way to reading the more important works. After a closer reading of the much-celebrated epic, I had a revelation. And what a revelation: Beowulf is wonderful. Perhaps it was the translation, or it might have been the basic substance of the work itself, but I found myself devouring the poem. I discovered two specific areas of appeal: 1) The fundamental attraction of the archetypical super-hero and 2) the more contemporary trend in modern culture to attempt to recapture the experience of this particular era via popular fiction and film....   [tags: Epic Beowulf essays]

Better Essays
1035 words (3 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)

Grendel Vs. Beowulf Essay

- Grendel One of the most compelling and highly developed characters in the novel Grendel, written by John Gardner, and the poem Beowulf, written by an anonymous poet, is the monster, Grendel. Even though these pieces show two different sides to Grendel they are similar in many ways. Grendel evokes sympathy toward the hideous monster by making him seem like the victim, while Beowulf portrays him as being the most loathsome of enemies. The reasons behind Grendel’s being, his killing, and finally his death make him one of the most controversial and infamous monsters in literature....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]

Better Essays
922 words (2.6 pages)

Point Of View In Grendel And Beowulf Essay

- 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. His desire to fit in causes him to do evil things....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]

Better Essays
1236 words (3.5 pages)