Grendel's Character Analysis

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There are many instances throughout the novel where Grendel experiences a psychological state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort, demonstrating his human emotions. Grendel confronts a range of sentiments from anger to fear when observing and interacting with human beings. Witnessing how men fight, Grendel is “[confused] and [frightened] [by how] all they killed—cows, horses, men—they left to rot or burn” (Gardner 36). This is clearly not the mental process of some evil monster. A monster would obviously enjoy and or take part in killing, but Grendel is scared just by watching how numerous individuals take the lives of innocent animals and people, seeing it have no real purpose. But this terror quickly transforms…show more content…
After becoming aware of what humans are capable of, Grendel is urged to kill all the men, but does his best to display self-control. It is evident that Grendel is not ignorant by any means, as he is fully aware of his surroundings and knows how much power he has over the people. At any moment, Grendel can easily exterminate Hrothgar’s entire village in an instant if he desired to do so. But instead, he restrains himself, and observed how “the army of the Scyldings weakened, decimated, [how Hrothgar] [could not] protect his own hall, [and consequently, Grendel] cut down on [his] visits, conserving the game, and watched them” (Gardner 94). This self-discipline is not something for which most monsters are recognized to exhibit. The majority of savage creatures take pleasure in creating excess waste and catastrophes wherever they lay foot on, but not Grendel. He is careful and weighs his options. Such a composure can be seen when Hygmod offers his sister, Wealhtheow, to Hrothgar as peace treaty. Grendel feels sorry for Wealtheow and wants to, “smash things, bring down the night with [his] howl of rage, [but instead] [he] [keeps] still” (Gardner 100). Grendel’s poise is apparent as he does not go ahead and kill all the men. He knows that Wealhtheow may be hurt in the end, thus he waits for a bigger revenge. Monsters are not known to ever think of the…show more content…
It is not a secret that Grendel is a killer and it is most likely he will always be one. However, beyond his brutal looks and large appetite, Grendel is capable of feeling and desiring things, just like a man. Many men tremble when near Grendel and look for ways to escape him. But they do not notice that, “God-cursed Grendel … greedily [lopes] [and] his rage [boils] over [him],” (Heaney 49). Evidently, Grendel manifests many human emotions, like greed and rage. Such description deems him of being a beast, but with human traits. Therefore, he desires for many things and is filled with wrath at appropriate times, just like a man. He yearns for companionship and wishes to be heard, but his monstrous aspect does not aid him, thus causing him to feel anger and distraught. They way one looks does not determine one’s character, as it can be a mask that hides a person’s true self. Grendel is judged to be a terrorizing monster that possess only primitive qualities, but one can argue that he does have a sense of purpose and higher thought, excluding him from the definition of monster alludes

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