In the epic, Beowulf, and in John Gardners novel, Grendel, the characters of Grendel and Beowulf demonstrate characteristics of a monster, while demonstrating human like qualities. The creature, Grendel exhibits his evil side by eating human beings. Grendel laments, I will move from bed to bed and destroy them all, swallow every last man (Gardner 168). As Grendel is about to attack the sleeping Danes and is contemplating what he will do, his desire to eat humans unleashes the monster inside of Grendel. Similarly, The individual by the name of Beowulf resembles a monster by of his large stature, causing Grendel to fear Beowulf.
Beowulf wants to slay Grendel to end the suffering of the Danes. To Grendel, Beowulf symbolizes evil because Beowulf tortures Grendel as Beowulf is killing Grendel. Gardner describes this encounter with, Nowhere on middle-earth, I realize, have I encountered a grip like hisI scream facing him, grotesquely shaking hands-dear long-long lost brother. (Gardner 169). Beowulf totures Grendel like a true monster. Although both Grendel and Beowulf demonstrate their fiendish qualities, Grendel and Beowulf also have human qualities.
For example, Grendel, a very philosophical creature, thinks constantly about the world around him as most humans, and Beowulf, born a human demonstrates human qualities by inheritance of human traits. Beowulf also demonstrates human qualities by having a desire to help the Danes, as humans help each other out. In this way Grendel and Beowulf demonstrate monstrous traits , yet exhibit human qualities as well. In the epic Beowulf Grendels monstrous nature originates by his ancestry to Cain, the evil son of Adam and Eve. Grendel is forced to live a life of evil because God, through Cain curses Grendels existence.
In Beowulf the author describes Grendel, as one who. . . haunted the moors, and was conceived by a pair of those monsters born of Cain (Raffel 38-42). The discription of Grendel in Beowulf is that of an evil beast because of his past. In the novel, Grendel depicts his own malevolent actions by saying, Some three or four nights later I launched my first raid. I burst in when they were asleep, snatched seven from their beds, and slit them up and devoured them on the spot, I felt a strange, unearthly joy (Gardner 79). In Gardners novel, Grendel demonstrates his heinous intentions by eating human beings.
In Beowulf, and in the novel Grendel the beast demonstrates characteristics of a monster because of his conviction of being a descendant of Cain, and through his own action of eating human beings. Beowulf, although a hero to the Danes, strikes fear into Grendels heart because of his monstrous characteristics. Gardner describes Beowulf as a very strong man, His chest was as wide as an oven, his arms were like beamsstaring at his grotesquely muscular shoulders sleek as the belly of a shark and as rippled with power as the shoulders of a horse (Gardner 155).
Grendel knows Beowulf desires to slay him and Grendel fears Beowulf because of his size, and his ability to defeat Grendel. Grendel realizes Beowulf is an adversary, who will be a challenge to defeat. This realization causes Grendel to experience fear for the first time. Beowulf represents a monster in Grendels eyes because Beowulf causes Grendel to fear him. Grendel does not fear anything but Beowulf, making him seem like a monster to Grendel. By causing Grendel to experience fear, Beowulf seems like a monster in Grendels eyes.
Grendel and Beowulf exhibit characteristics of monsters, while showing evidence of human traits. Grendel has the appearance of a monster because of his physical qualities and demonstrates an evil state of mind with some of his thoughts. Grendel, however, does think on a higher level than other animals and is very philosophical, like a human. Grendel articulates, my discovery long ago of the moonlit world beyond the mere, I was transformed, I was a new focus for the clutter space I stood inI had become something, as if born again (Gardner 80).
Grendel thinks about the world around him and does not act on instinct alone, which exemplifies his human side because of his ability to think. Beowulf is born a human, which brings out many human qualities Beowulf has. He comes to help Hrothgar, which exposes a human side to him, because he wants to help a civilization end their suffering. Grendels ability to think and Beowulfs desire to help humans demonstrates the human nature of the two beings. Grendel and Beowulf both exhibit characteristics of monsters through their actions, while exposing a human side. Grendel tortures the Danes by a twelve- year killing spree of King Hrothgars men.
Beowulf tortures Grendel by making him suffer during his last living moments on earth. Grendels fear for Beowulf makes Beowulf give the impression of a monster to Grendel. Grendel reveals a human side by his thought process, he consciously thinks about the world around him unlike any other non-human animal. Beowulf demonstrates how human he really is by having a desire to help out the Danes with their problem with Grendel, and by genetically being human. Grendel and Beowulf both demonstrate characteristics of monsters, and humans by their actions and thought processes.