Evil or Hero: Grendel and Beowulf Essay Example


Is Grendel truly evil? Is Beowulf a hero? Throughout the poem Beowulf, Beowulf seems like a hero. People from the land of the Danes adored Beowulf. He had many characteristics such as being brave, courageous, and he made it his mission to kill anything that threatened. Grendel was the opposite, he was classified as a horrible, scary, ugly beast. The poem did not express Grendel’s thoughts, instead, the poem made the readers think that he was a monster with no feelings for others.

However, Grendel is not truly evil. In the novel Grendel, he was still treated like a hideous monster. However, in the novel, Grendel had a lot of different feelings deep inside of himself. His childhood had a big impact on his future life. He also met different creatures which changed his outlook on life. To summarize, people treated him terribly. Beowulf did not have a good enough reason to kill Grendel. Beowulf was a terrible man who killed many creatures. He occurs as a jealous, selfish, and greedy man. In result, Beowulf is not a true hero.

In the novel Grendel, he gained more emotions. He was seen as an angry, depressed, fearful, and lonely monster. Beowulf states that “ I shake my head, muttering darkly on a shaded path, holding conversation with my only friend and comfort this world affords, my shadow.”(8) He does not have any friends. Nobody wants to listen to him because everyone fears Grendel. He felt like an outcast, this caused him to be angry at the world. If he encountered friendships, he wouldn't feel unhappy and might appreciate his life. Grendel says “When her strange eyes burned into me, it did not seem quite sure. I was intensely aware of where I sat, the volume of darkness I displaced, the shiny-smooth span of packed dirt between us, and the shocking separateness from me in my mama's eyes. I would feel, all at once, alone and ugly, almost—as if I'd dirtied myself—obscene. (17). He nearly receives the type of love from his mother that a child should, but not quite. Since his mother physically can't talk to him, she can only stare at the child she has brought into depression, suffering, and grieving. In addition, his mother is afraid of him.

Grendel possesses a life that was terrible. He did not have a good childhood. He also did not have a good home. He lived in a cave under the earth. Grendel implies“Even under the ground I live, where no light breaks but the red of my fires and nothing stirs but the flickering shadows on my wet rock walls, or scampering rats on my piles of bones, or my mothers fat.”(9) Nobody should have to live in this lifestyle. He lives in a cold and dark cave. Grendel is isolated from the world. The cave is the only place that allows them a life of safety and privacy in a world that they view as hostile. According to the text, Grendel says “Blood gushed from my ankle and shin, and flew up through me like fire up the flue of a mountain. I lost my head. I bellowed for help, so loudly it made the ground shake... I bellowed to the sky, the forest, the cliffs, until I was so weak from the loss of blood I could barely wave my arms. "I'm going to die," I wailed. 'Poor Grendel! Poor old Mama!' I wept and sobbed. "Poor Grendel will hang here and starve to death," I told myself, "and no one will ever even miss him!" The thought enraged me.” (18) Grendel’s past childhood accident has scarred him for life. It was his first glimpse of him knowing he was different. He knows that he had to do something that made the pain less painful. This made Grendel stronger, and it made him have a lot of self-determination.

 

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