Grendel a Philisophical Point of View Essay

Grendel a Philisophical Point of View Essay

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Grendel a Philisophical Point of View

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...

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