Saturday, September 18, 2010

Grendel's Malevolence

"Enough of that! A night for tearing heads off, bathing in blood!"

The monstrous character from Beowulf, Grendel, is a very ruthless, powerful, and uncompassionate creature. The epic opens with the archetypal hero Beowulf making reference to the fact that Grendel is a powerful monster. Grendel is the offspring of one of the descendants of Cain. Cain was an evil and jealous individual. It is evident that these traits have been handed down to Grendel. In part one, section two of Beowulf; Grendel took a visit to the prince of Herot’s hall to observe the actions of his warriors. Once Grendel noticed that the warriors were asleep, he caught them off-guard and slaughtered thirty men. He felt no remorse or compassion for the evil deed he had partaken in.
            Grendel had warriors on pins and needles awaiting his next attack. Grendel was relentless. He was never satisfied with the amount of blood and carnage he produced. He regularly visited Herot to murder and annihilate. The only effective safety measure for the warriors was to stay away from their beds and keep their distance from Herot at night. Some men went as far as to make a valiant effort to bargain with the monster. Despite their efforts, all attempts would prove futile. There was no gift or peace offering that would be successful in deterring Grendel from his goals of wreaking havoc and decimating warriors. The humans were frightened by Grendel, and they felt very insecure about their safety as a result.
            Typically, when creatures have such an innate passion for carnage and exhibiting destructive behavior, there is some motive or rationale behind it. I believe Grendel conveys this malicious behavior because he is a descendant of the evil Cain. I feel that the evil and aggressive nature of Grendel has been handed down to him through many previous generations of evil within his family. Cain was jealous of his brother Abel and exerted his wrath upon his brother by killing him. Due to his ancestors, it is the fundamental nature of Grendel to wreak havoc and exert the wrath of Cain on any and every person he can.
            It is blatantly evident that Grendel is a ruthless being. He does not attempt to conceal his malevolence in any way. However, Grendel’s place of residence expresses connotations of evil as well. Within the first two lines of the text, Beowulf describes Grendel as “living in the darkness.”  Darkness is frequently known to be associated with evil. Also, in part one, section eight, Beowulf states that Grendel comes from a marsh as well as the foot of misty hills and bogs. This implies that Grendel is not a benevolent and benign character.

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