Grendel: Evil? or Misunderstood?

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Grendel: Evil? Or Misunderstood? Does being an outcast in society make a person evil? That is one of the questions that is constantly addressed in the epic poem, Beowulf. In the epic poem, the great hero Beowulf sets out to kill the supposed demon Grendel, who everyone widely views as one of the most evil beings to walk the Earth. But why, exactly, is Grendel viewed as evil? Some people argue that it is because Grendel kills people. Although that does make sense, in this story, it doesn't. Almost everyone in this story kills people. There are many reasons why Grendel is viewed as evil, but one of the main reasons is because Grendel is born as an outcast from the rest of society. Combine that with being categorized with another outcast who was seemingly just as evil in Cain from the Bible, and people don't question the evil label that Grendel receives. In Beowulf, Grendel is portrayed as evil because he is categorized with Cain and is born as an outcast. The first reason why Grendel is portrayed as evil in Beowulf is because he is categorized with Cain. It is told in the the Bible that Cain was the first murderer in the world. He killed his brother because he was jealous, and thus God condemned him and made him an outcast from the rest of the world. Being that the epic poem Beowulf was written in the Anglo-Saxon time period, everyone was very religious. One of the worst things to be associated with at that time (and still is today) is with fratricide, or the killing of a brother (Grendel). The easiest way to be considered Holt 2 evil in society is fratricide, and Grendel is already born into the same group as Cain. It is also stated in the poem that Grendel was put in the same group as Cain because he was apart of, “Cain’s clan, whom [God] had outlawed / and condemned as outcasts” (Raffel). The simple fact that Grendel is even associated with one of the worst

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