Essay on Good And Evil : An Exploration Of Morality Through Grendel

1281 Words Dec 13th, 2015 6 Pages
Good and Evil: An Exploration of Morality Through Grendel Morality is a matter of perspective. The definitions of good and evil differ from one person to the next. John Gardner’s novel Grendel, an alternate take on the famous epic Beowulf written in the monster’s perspective, explores this position, and challenges the typical definitions and ideas of good and evil. In Grendel, Gardner utilizes the characters Grendel, Beowulf, and the Dragon to explore the theme that good and evil are never black and white. The original author of Beowulf portrays the monster Grendel as a personification of evil, however, Grendel, written from the monster 's perspective, offers different explanations of good and evil. Grendel spends most of the novel talking to himself, or staying within his own mind. He exists far before the people settle down in his land. He spends much of his time observing the humans, and expresses curiosity and even fear, which he confesses to feeling when he feels truly threatened by them for the first time, saying “Hrothgar was more to be feared than a tree or snake” (Gardner 30). Grendel compares Hrothgar, king of one of the human settlements, showing that Grendel does not view humans as any better or less feeble minded than animals, however, he states humans are the most dangerous things he’s ever met. He begins thinking this way only after Hrothgar attacked Grendel with a battle ax and after he grew older and significantly more dangerous. This proves that Grendel…

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