Character Analysis of Grendel from Beowulf

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Jamie Kisling Mr. J. L. Gargas AP Eng Lit, 5th Period 10 September 2012 The Self-made Monster Characters like Dracula and Frankenstein's Monster have earned the role of the super villain their infamous name. And even in Old English stories monsters were known as terror reeking beasts. Most of the time, that is exactly what they did. Grendel, the main villain of the epic Beowulf, has many of the qualities of a super villain. Although the reader is able to see the more curious and confused side of Grendel, his evilness is not chosen. Although the evilness he shows is innate in him and taught, Grendel is a self-made monster, or a victim of his own creation. In one sense you feel pity for him, but you know that he should be feared and hated. The first passage of this story basically describes the building of Heorot. Hrothgar, decides to build a type of sanctuary for his warriors that he names "Heorot". This is in the first main passage of the story of Beowulf and this is the first place we find the theme of internal versus external evil. The passage implies that internal evil will ultimately destroy the hall, rather than being attacked by monsters: "Not reckless of promise, the rings he dealt, treasure at banquet: there towered the hall, high, gabled wide, the hot surge waiting of furious flame. "(28) This foreshadows the internal evil that will destroy the Danes. Another theme in this story is the theme of men versus monsters. This theme comes to light when Grendel is described. Even in Chapter 1, it is made known that Grendel is going to be a monster. He is called the “enemy of mankind” (29) and rightly so. That automatically makes the reader see him as a completely evil character. He is also introduced as a decedent of Cain, who was a son of Adam and Eve that also killed his brother, Abel, causing him to be questioned as a son of Satan himself.

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