Position Paper: Existentialism VS Fatalism After reading Grendel, I have come to the conclusion that fatalism is the predominant determinant in the novel and in Grendel’s life. Throughout all of Grendel’s day to day actions, one can synthesize a claim as to what is going to happen next to Grendel. One can come to these predeterminations by inferring subliminal messages from the Dragon’s speech. In chapter five, Grendel meets the Dragon. The Dragon is a unique character who is an all knowing omnipotent being.
He laughs at Grendel’s rather shallow base of knowledge, and easily gets frustrated when Grendel does not comprehend the Dragon’s complex philosophies. In this chapter the Dragon fills Grendel in on this issues that he faces. The Dragon tells Grendel what is to come for him in the future, and that he should embrace his fate not fight it (Gardner 63). Grendel’s role is now to wreak havoc among the humans, even though he wants to befriend them. Even towards the end of the novel, Grendel’s fate can still be inferred.
When Grendel is fighting Beowulf, the words of the Dragon are restated, “The world is a meaningless swirl of dust. ” (Gardner 170) The purpose of this statement is to legitimize the Dragon’s prophesies of Grendel’s death. This statement indicates that Grendel’s death is nearby. Opponents of the fatalistic argument may voice their opinions with existentialism. Beowulf whispers to Grendel, “You make the world by whispers, second by second. Are you blind to that? Whether you make it a grave or a garden of roses is not the point. (Gardner 171) In this statement Beowulf argues that the individual gives meaning to life, and that life and free will are the source of all purpose and reason. However, the evidence presented in favor of fatalism rebuts the argument of existentialism because it is stronger and has greater validity throughout the text. It is obvious from the star5t that this is a tale of fatalism. It is present in Grendel’s actions, speech, and thought. Even all the characters surrounding Grendel point to a predetermined fate for Grendel.