English 12 A 3rd
19 May 2015
In Beowulf, Grendel is depicted as a vicious, bloodthirsty monster that is attacking the
citizens for no reason. In Grendel, Gardner attempts to shine some light on one of the most well
known monsters in literature. The reader sees that it is not just Grendel’s nature that leads him to
kill people. They also see Grendel as a character with a mind, something that he is devoid of in
Beowulf, having no lines, only an extended battle scene.
The way that Gardner fleshed out Grendel’s mind was, I thought, very interesting. There
was nothing he could work with in Beowulf since there was no ...view middle of the document...
depiction gives him justification for his actions in Beowulf. Grendel observes Hrothgar’s men for
years before he decides to terrorize them. The things he witnesses during his observations are
disloyalty and deception. Grendel does not understand how these men can constantly wage war
against each other and then tell stories of their greatness. This frustrates him. The Shaper makes
all the things the people do seem rational, even though Grendel knows in his head this is not true.
In his heart, he wants the things the Shaper says to be true. He hopes for a better future, thinking
that if he is removed, the men will stop their behavior. Let’s look at this from my perspective.
Scenario: A social issue arises, I observe the cruelty and falsity of men for as Grendel did, I
would probably want to terrorize them as well. Those evil men would not deserve to live lives
of not knowing fear. They terrorize each other, why not give them something real to fear?
Grendel as an observer is interesting as well. He knows of the social commentary, pointing out
every little thing about his subjects and calling it into question. Through Grendel’s eyes, we see
him as the moral one and men as evil and false. They lay waste to everything. Grendel might not
care about the deaths these men bring, but he recognizes how senseless it is. He is the more
What’s what Gardner wanted to do with Grendel, and he managed to do it successfully.
He was able to turn a flat character into a round one. He managed to make Grendel more