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The Evil Within Essay

1246 words - 5 pages

In Both Grendel and Beowulf, there is conflict. The conflict is betwixt the themes of light and dark, Paganism vs. Christianity, and Man vs. Beast. Grendel, the main character in Grendel and the secondary character in Beowulf, faces external battles but the most important battle take place internally. John Gardener recognized the basis for Grendel’s predicament which is “his [Grendel] stubborn cling to skepticism and cold, hard reason. . .” (Grendel’s Geis). Though there are many different themes present in both stories, there is one theme that remains consistent throughout out both. This theme is the lack of acceptance. Grendel’s in-acceptance is rooted in his lack of understanding of the world and its functions. As a result of the many things that have taken place in Grendel’s life, he is perceived as evil yet, not because he wants to be. He is misunderstood and not accepted. Much of Grendel’s evil wrongdoing comes as a result of lack of acceptance, lack of communication, and his ignorance.
In the beginning of the novel, we find that that a mysterious creature attacked Hrothgar, the king of Danes and his army. In response to the situation, Hrothgar decides to call Beowulf who happens to his nephew. In this account of the story Beowulf is the hero to the Danes. He defeats the monster and it's mother. In contrast, in the novel Grendel, Grendel tells the story from his perspective. He describes to the how he wanted to be friends with the humans. In hi attempt to communicate, he is unsuccessful and finds himself being attacked. After trying several more times to befriend the humans, he deices to carry out his plan of being what society ‘wants’ him to be.
Grendel is seen as the Other. In the beginning chapters of the book, Grendel reminisces on the time in his life when he first began to dislike the humans. Grendel said, “’Pig!’ I tried to yell. It scared them. They all began shouting at each other. One of the horses neighed and reared up, and for some crazy reason, they took it for a sign. The king snatched an ax from the man beside him and, without any warning, he hurled it at me” (Gardner 27). Since Grendel didn’t look like everyone else nor did he speak like the others, he was not accepted. This quote mentions that for an unknown reason, they took it for a sign. There is a possibility that the “sign” gave Hrothgar, the king of the mead hall, reckoned the opportunity to put a face with the name so to speak. The Christians knew evil existed but didn’t know what it looked like until they saw Grendel. Grendel is perceived as evil and has a vague understanding of the universe. Grendel understood that he had a place in the world. In both Beowulf and Grendel, it’s evident that Grendel is seen as an evil monster. Carl Landsack, a literary scholar, says, “Identifying with the pathetic monster who seeks acceptance . . . is much easier than identifying [with] Beowulf” (Grendel’s Geis). Grendel is the outcast and he is not being accepted by the...

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