Grendel follows the philosophical evolution, from solipsism to nihilism, of a socially isolated creature, a monster. It is an examination of human supernatural curiosity and its many dangers, specifically the tendency toward blind cynicism. Grendel is a censure of the rapid growth of this cynicism in twentieth century society and the consequent widespread distrust of abstract ideals.
In investigating his own nature, the monster in the story destroys himself. He realizes that the universe is determined, accidental, and so he loses faith in his own importance. With time, he becomes a beast, until eventually his soul has wholly left him. He does not die for love, or for passion, or for freedom. His spirit dies instead simply, hopelessly, mired in boredom and anger, without courage or sadness. Grendel is dead long before his body fails him. He fades away, and the most important theme in this novel is that such self-destruction, though tempting, is not the only answer.
Grendel's first defense against a brute universe is solipsism: the belief that the self can know only itself and that it is the only existent thing. As the novel clearly demonstrates, solipsism is a weak defense. However loudly a creature may declare its godhood, the universe continues to function independently. However a creature may deny the reality of outside factors, outside factors will continue to impose themselves upon his everyday existence. The main flaw in so...
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- 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]
1236 words (3.5 pages)
- “Beowulf” and Grendel are two tales similar in many ways, yet different from each other. These stories are like a coin; you cannot have one side without the other. Just as the sides of a coin share the same coin, these stories share a similar plot, a setting, and tell of the same events. The sides of a coin also have differences as do “Beowulf” and Grendel. In the case of these two tales this difference is in their respective philosophical views. “Beowulf” portrays the philosophical views of life that many people still regard today.... [tags: Epic Poems, Grendel, Anglo-Saxon]
1260 words (3.6 pages)
- Over the course of history, philosophers and scientist have debated the existence of God. Humans have a limited knowledge regarding this issue. People hear and read about how the Judeo-Christian God came to be known and how the word spread across the world. The paper addresses the philosophical point of view proving God exists. Points will be addressed on the opposing view and making vivid points for pointing out God does exist. Humans are always viewing different objectives and natural aspects.... [tags: Ontology, Existence, Mind, Existence of God]
1456 words (4.2 pages)
- The Importance of Point of View in The Black Cat Point of view is a very important aspect of The Black Cat. The main character tells the story to the reader from his first person point of view. You have a good feel for the story because you have the first person narration. As you read into the story it comes apparent however that the narrator telling the story is not a reliable interpretation of the details around him. You have a good feel for his emotions and the events of the story, but the narrators opinions are so far out that you are forced to wonder just what of the story is the askew interpretation of a madman and what is the reality of the situation.... [tags: The Black Cat Point of View Literature Essays]
1328 words (3.8 pages)
- There are many similarities and differences between the movie "Beowulf and Grendel", to the poem. Major differences between the movie and the poem would be Grendel himself. In the poem, he is described as an evil monster born from two demons. In the movie, Grendel is actually human, but known as a troll to the warriors and Danes. The poem doesn’t give the background of Grendel or show how the Danes killed his father and the possible reason of his revenge, like in the movie. If the witch, Selma, was not included in the storyline of the movie, the audience would not have known key information that she was used to show from more flashbacks.... [tags: beowulf, grendel, poem]
596 words (1.7 pages)
- Grendel the Existentialist Monster The monster Grendel is the ironic eye through which the action is viewed and from this perspective he provides the reader with never-ending examples of buffoonery and self-parody. Often his claims reveal the Sartrean component in his makeup: "I create the whole universe, blink by blink"(Gardner 22). Gardner,of course,wants to make a point here about solipsism. There is more to the objective world than Grendel's ego. Naturally the universe still exists when Grendel closes his eyes.... [tags: Grendel Essays]
700 words (2 pages)
- The Meaningless Life of Grendel in John Gardner's novel, Grendel "People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive...." Joseph Campbell made this comment on the search for meaning common to every man's life. His statement implies that what we seem bent on finding is that higher spark for which we would all be willing to live or die; we look for some key equation through which we might tie all of the experiences of our life and feel the satisfaction of action toward a goal, rather than the emptiness which sometimes consumes the activities of our existence.... [tags: Grendel Essays]
2577 words (7.4 pages)
- John Gardner's Grendel as Hero. "'I cry, and hug myself, and laugh, letting out salt tears, he he. till I fall down gasping and sobbing."1 With these words the reader is introduced to the "hero" of Gardner's Grendel, and the mood is set for the coming pages. How is one to interpret this ambiguous, melodramatic narrator, whose phrases mix seemingly heartfelt emotional outbursts with witty (if cynical) observations, and ideological musings with ironic commentaries. Perhaps this is what makes Grendel such an extremely engaging narrator.... [tags: Grendel Essays]
2002 words (5.7 pages)
- 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]
843 words (2.4 pages)
- 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]
1163 words (3.3 pages)