Grendel: The Paragon Of Evil, By John Gardner

989 Words 4 Pages
"He was spawned in that slime, conceived by a pair of those monsters born of Cain, murderous creatures banished by God, punished forever for the crime of Abel's death" (Gardner 6). For centuries, Grendel has been classified as a paragon of evil through his abuse of Hrothgar's kingdom in the Anglo-Saxon tale, Beowulf. There has always been the illusion that Hrothgar's people are innocent and are being attacked by Grendel solely for his own pleasure; however, what if Grendel is truly the innocent being, and not evil at all? This is the depiction John Gardner attempts to create in his novel. In the novel Grendel, John Gardner illustrates Grendel as an innocent, supernatural being, and does so in order to draw attention away from the illusion that …show more content…
Gardner utilizes Grendel's isolation in two ways: through his mother, and through society. With the lack of a caring and alert mother, Grendel has to mature and learn to take care of himself at a young age. In addition, his rejection by society makes him an outsider and keeps him from truly learning the right ways to function as a normal human being. With these two things in mind, the reader begins to question if Grendel truly deserved the death that was destined for him. Gardner makes the reader feel like Grendel was wrongly punished. Grendel was only hunting the humans for his survival, unlike the humans themselves, who kill to avenge and/or win a certain battle, which Grendel deems wasteful. As a result, he is killed merely because he needs his prey in order to …show more content…
Firstly, he is blinded by the manipulation of the Shaper, dragon, and Beowulf. These three attempt to use their words to turn Grendel towards evil, but Grendel refuses to believe in what they say. Secondly, Grendel is naïve through his isolation. Without a mother to teach him the roads of fitting in with society, he has to teach himself what is a good and bad; however, when he attempts to do something good, he is shut out by society and deemed as an outcast. Furthermore, his perspectives are parallel to those of a normal human. He believes that wars and fights are a waste of human life, and that it is unethical to use a human as a gift or article for peace. Lastly, he functions like a normal human being. Grendel kills humans for his survival, which is similar to humans killing various animals in order to live and

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