Monday, September 20, 2010

Aren't Beowulf and Grendel the Same?

"Not that I fool myself with thoughts that I'm more noble."


            The novel Grendel differs in style and appearance from the epic poem Beowulf, which it was based upon. A reason for this difference in style could be contributed to the fact that Grendel is narrated from Grendel’s perspective whereas the poem Beowulf tells the story from Beowulf’s point of view. I believe Gardner made the decision to use Grendel as a narrator because Grendel’s monstrous nature allowed him to best convey his thoughts and opinions towards certain subjects without being subjected to public scrutiny. A second reason for Gardner’s decision would be to provide readers with the opportunity to examine the story from an alternative perspective. This change of perspective could result in the alternation of a reader’s view towards the story as a whole.
            As a monster, Grendel is expected to maintain a rather pessimistic outlook in regards to the human race. Due to the fact that he is a monster and is also a descendant of the evil biblical figure Cain, Grendel is also expected to narrate in a violent and malevolent tone of voice. A monster typically has the desire to kill and annihilate and Grendel acquires this same mentality as he is a dragon. The final effect of Grendel’s status as a monster on the way he tells the story is the fact that he cannot effectively communicate with the humans.

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