Beowulf By John Gardner And The Epic Poem Beowulf Essay

1086 Words Nov 12th, 2014 5 Pages
In the novel Grendel by John Gardner and the epic poem Beowulf translated version by Seamus Heaney reveals the striking comparisons and contrasts between the two main characters. Both literature pieces emphasize the disparities as well as the indistinguishable comparisons between the two characters, successfully altering the reader’s views of Grendel, the big, bad, God forsaken “Hell-Brute” and Beowulf, the strong, selfless hero, the benediction of Heorot, by means of value and sense of war, View of self, as well as societal Ideas. Both Grendel and Beowulf are heavily opinionated about war; however it depends on which literature piece is read, for the opinions are altered when looking through Beowulf’s or Grendel’s eyes. In the epic Beowulf, it is easy to see that Beowulf loves war, it is his culture, his life, the reason for existence. Every man during this era is a warrior or killed, “...warriors earn their fame, and wealth is shaped with a sword”(Beowulf ll 20-25). Men are religiously engaged in wars and battles because it is the only way to become “immortal” in their pagan society, to forever be remembered in fight songs sung by scops in the mead hall. The twelve years that Grendel is involved in a “war” with Heorot is described as, “Twelve winters of grief for Hrothgar...sorrow heaped at his door...” (Beowulf ll 147-151.) However, in the novel Grendel, Grendel, in the spirit of the season says, “And so begins the twelfth year of my idiotic war.” (Gardner 5) he goes…

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