How Is Grendel Presented In Beowulf

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The character Grendel in the novel differs from the character in the epic poem Beowulf because in the novel Grendel is self-aware while in Beowulf he is mindless and only bent on killing, in the novel he is intelligent and resourceful while in Beowulf he is non-feeling and lacks remorse, and lastly in the novel he experiences a hysteric grieving period while in Beowulf he appears to come swiftly into the tale before dying almost immediately. In the novel, Grendel presents himself as very self-aware. While he does go about handling himself in an extremely violent and aggressive way, his thoughts can be seen as well-rounded and obviously conscientious of his actions. In the novel he states, “Thus I fled, ridiculous hairy creature torn apart…show more content…
In the beginning he seems to be unaware of much that exists in the world, but he picks things up quickly and has a high capacity for knowledge. He often even shows human-like tendencies for skepticism and cunning. This is how he predicts the actions of others and makes certain choices out of more than just physical malice, but more of a conniving and elaborate cruelty. When Grendel goes to visit the dragon, there is an instance where he shows his unsureness of the situation and ponders his naivety, “I went on squinting at him, hand on my mouth. He could lie. He was evil enough. He shook his ponderous head. ‘Ah, man’s cunning mind!’ he said, and cackled.” (71) Here, Grendel can be seen trying to thoroughly and realistically consider the possibility of the dragon’s deceit. Even the dragon himself can see the humanity in Grendel’s thoughts and actions, and acknowledges how he uses these man-like qualities to decide for himself. Then in Beowulf, Grendel is portrayed often as a monster through and through. His bloodlust is the only thing on his mind, and he is only sated when surrounded by self-produced death and destruction. “And his heart laughed, he relished the sight, Intended to tear the life from those bodies” (289-290). This quote from Beowulf clearly shows how Grendel is viewed as a monster only capable of caring about the taking of lives and happiness from those around himself, as opposed to…show more content…
One of these emotional meltdowns can be seen towards the end of the novel and Grendel seems to come to the realization of his demise. “No, no! Think! I come suddenly awake once more from the nightmare. Darkness. I really will die!” (172) He loses himself in a small bought of hysterics as this information sinks into him before settling in on a cold resignation for his death. This reaction to the ending of his life shows just how emotional and humanistic Grendel’s character is. He not only loses himself as he slips closer towards death, but he even shows signs of the different stages of grief as his hysterics occur. The final scenes in the battle shown in Beowulf are noted differently though. Grendel appears to come into the story, bloodily take his victims, and then die swiftly and brutally. His character has almost no chance to develop or even gain some type of real importance before it is quickly done away with in a grisly and jarring situation. “And defeat, the tears torn out of Grendel’s Taut throat, hell’s captive caught in the arms Of him who of all the men on earth Was the strongest.” (346-349) After being brought in a scorned for being such a hideous and murderous beast, he is soon done away with at the hands of Beowulf,

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