Monday, September 20, 2010

Grendel's a Parody?

"Then Halfdane's son presented Beowulf
with a gold standard as ... showered with such gifts
in front of the hall-troops."

            The novel Grendel by John Gardner can be compared to the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf. Some would venture to say that Grendel is a parody, or mocking imitation of Beowulf. In the poem Beowulf, the character of Grendel is portrayed as a simple-minded creature whose only goal is to be evil and annihilate everyone and everything he possibly can. However, the character Grendel as written about in the novel Grendel depicts the monster as being more of a comical character who takes a divine interest in both literature and philosophical worldviews. Another way in which Grendel can be thought of as a parody of Beowulf is that Grendel is boasting to the humans in Gardner’s version Grendel, whereas, Beowulf is the main character boasting in the ancient Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf. There are many significant differences in the perspectives of both stories and therefore lead to both stories having a their own unique appearances and outlooks.

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