Essays on Grendel

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Good and Evil in Grendel by John Gardner

What is the one thing that never leaves you? It is your shadow. However, your shadow cannot exist without the light from the sun. Just as sunlight brightens shadows, in the novel, Grendel, the author John Gardner illuminates the origins and the internal conflict of the Twelve-Year War between the beast-like creature named Grendel and…



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Pages: 4
Words: 924

Grendel’s Modern America

America today is remarkably similar compared to the ancient Anglo-Saxon civilization. Influences shared between the two worlds are uncanny. In the novel Grendel, John Gardner writes the story of Beowulf from the monster’s point of view. Despite many technological and societal advances made since the Anglo-Saxon period, many aspects of Grendel’s world are still seen…



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Pages: 4
Words: 831

“Grendel” by John Gardner

There is one question that humans spend eternities trying to definitely answer, and that question is the meaning of life. Humans need to have an answer for everything, and this one philosophical questions makes people wrack their brains to try to find an answer that can encompass everyone and everything. And what if humans cannot…



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Pages: 5
Words: 1165

Check a list of useful topics on Grendel selected by experts

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The Emotions of Grendel the Monster


Grendel is a character in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf. He is one of the poem's three antagonists, all aligned in opposition against the protagonist Beowulf. Grendel is feared by all in Heorot but Beowulf.


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By lineage, Grendel is a member of “Cain’s clan, whom the creator had outlawed / and condemned as outcasts.” (106–107). He is thus descended from a figure who epitomizes resentment and malice.

Descended from the biblical Cain, Grendel is an outcast, doomed to wander the face of the earth. He revenges himself upon humans by terrorizing and occasionally devouring the warriors of the Danish king Hrothgar.

Grendel is envious, resentful, and angry toward mankind, possibly because he feels that God blesses them but that the ogre himself never can be blessed. Grendel especially resents the light, joy, and music that he observes in Hrothgar’s beautiful mead-hall, Heorot.

The narrator of Beowulf claims that Grendel’s motivation is hearing Hrothgar’s bard sing songs about God’s creation of the world, which rubs his demonic nature the wrong way. Whatever the reason, every night Grendel slaughters more Danes and feeds on their corpses after tearing them limb from limb.

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