Grendel Essay

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Is Grendel Purely Evil or Misunderstood? In most stories it is easy to depict who the bad guy or who the evil villain is. However, in the novel Grendel by John Gardner, it is hard to decipher whether Grendel, the main character, is purely evil or a misunderstood character. Grendel is a descendent from Cain. Cain related back to hell and all that is evil, so immediately one may think that Grendel is this evil character due to his heritage. However, he is a misunderstood character who was not given the benefit of the doubt. In the eyes of man, Grendel is an evil monster banished from man’s society, who is now forced to live and see the world in a different perspective. Grendel attempted to fit into man’s world. Though, man’s world is a harsh and judgmental society. The reader can see this misjudged character by Grendel’s first encounter with man, the ability to show human emotions, and Grendel’s opinion towards the shaper. Grendel’s first encounter with man was the first time the reader can realize that Grendel is a misunderstood character. Grendel believes man is proud, vain, and unobservant to the world around him. “The world resists me and I resist the world.” (pg. 28). This shows that Grendel was judged by his facial appearance and the way he spoke. Man never gave him a chance to fit into society so he was banished and forced to live a life of loneliness. When Grendel first encountered man he was stuck in a tree and already faced a bull with no assistance or rescue. “The Kings snatched an ax from the man beside him and, without any warning, he hurled it at me.” (pg. 27). Before, the king tried to swing at Grendel, Grendel was simply trying to reason with the men and help them. But due to his voice, which was loud and bellowing compared to man, they tried to kill him. They did not try to reason with him or give him a chance. This shows the reader that Grendel

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