Old pieces of literature are some of the most valuable and well-written of all time. The authors were very skilled in writing about characters that many people could relate to. People could see themselves as the protagonist, and sometimes, even in the antagonist, or villain. We see these themes in Beowulf, a book written in the tenth century by an anonymous author, with the villain being Grendel. It portrayed him as a horrible, human eating, soulless creature who showed no mercy. Recently, in the twentieth century, was a book by the name of Grendel, written by John Gardner, which portrayed Grendel as a creature who was just bored with life, and had feelings as well. I l Grendel is not a villain, he has human emotions as well, and is curious about many things.
Love is a strong emotion, which displays affection. One may believe that monsters like Grendel are incapable of showing love and compassion to anyone or anything. All animals feel love towards those who raised them; this applies to humans, cats, monkeys, and even creatures like Grendel. On page, Grendel realizes that his dear mother is growing old. This shows that he feels compassion towards his mom and doesnt want her to go. Additionally, he didnt want to kill Unferth, the young warrior that intruded into his cave. Unferth believed in the heroic goodness of his culture. He wanted to be remembered for killing Grendel, and if he couldnt, he would die for a noble cause. Unferth doesnt want to die nobly, going down against a horrendous monster, he just wants to be remembered for his death. Unferth asks Grendel to kill him, and Grendel refuses. Unferth threatens to kill himself when Grendel suggests that it would be extremely cowardly. He also tells him that the world would not always be as heroic as that. Grendel carried him back home gently, and didnt kill him. I could crush him like a fly, but I held back (pg 89). Grendel gave Unferth
People often think of Grendel as evil because he attacked Hrothgars men, but it is false. Without seeing the event from Grendel’s perspective, readers may assume that the Thanes had every right to attack. Grendel has just been attacked by a bull, and is stuck, injured, in a tree. At night, a group of thanes on patrol found him stuck in the tree. Grendel tried to communicate and plead for assistance from them, and had no intentions of showing hostility. and wanted to kill him. Grendels shout is misunderstood as a battle cry by the humans, and they attack Grendel with their weapons. Grendel, a terrified creature who is starving and weak, has no choice but to protect himself, but still gets severe wounds.
As shown earlier in the book, Grendel had a bad encounter with Hrothgars men. Later, when he came across them again, he was afraid of them from habit and some of the most tipsy thanes came towards him, shaking their weapons and shouting at me, my idiotic fear of them mounted (Gardner, 81). These are very human-like emotions.