Existentialism In John Gardner's Grendel, By John Gardner

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What do you believe a monster is? In the novel Grendel written by John Gardner the main character Grendel is a monstrous creature who for twelve years has slaughtered the people of Hrothgar’s, the king of the Danes, hall. Grendel has grown up alone and has never felt like he belonged anywhere, so when he encountered the humans for the first time he wanted to fit in. After several encounters with them he reached a conclusion that he would wage a war that will last twelve years with them. Furthermore, Grendel is guilty of crimes of monstrosity because he killed innocent people without remorse and found joy in tormenting them. Considering the fact, that Grendel never acted in self-defence but with premeditated intentions of killing the people, he therefore must be guilty. Grendel expressed his intentions to kill the people when he stated, “As for …show more content…
Grendel having lived so many years watched the humans evolve and throughout this time he found his purpose of being a destructive monster. He stated, “What will we call the Hrothgar-wrecker when Hrothgar has been wrecked,” (Gardner 91). Grendel’s only restraint that keeps him from not killing them all at once is that he would not have a purpose in life anymore. Although in the beginning Grendel only killed people for food he reached a point where he enjoyed his killings and no longer did it out necessity. Grendel proclaimed, “I had hung between possibilities before, between the cold truths I knew and the heart-sucking conjuring tricks of the Shaper; now that was passed: I was Grendel, Ruiner of Mead Halls, Wrecker of Kings.” (Gardner 80). This shows how killing the Danes and terrorizing them was a choice he made believing that that was his purpose, but either way he is guilty of monstrosity because murder is still

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