Sunday, September 28, 2008

Grendel's View of Beowulf

For Spencer's benefit, I've illustrated my post with a picture of Grendel. Somehow I feel that this depiction isn't too accurate though.

Grendel sees Beowulf as being insane - in some ways it seems that Grendel could even see Beowulf as not being human (for example when Grendel thinks that Beowulf suddenly has wings) although on pg. 169 Grendel refers to him as his "dear long-lost brother, kinsman-thane" and says "he is only a man."

In Beowulf, it says that Grendel was killed by Beowulf's extreme strength. However in Grendel Beowulf seems to win through his rhetorical tricks and brainwashing.

Grendel refuses to accept that Beowulf could possibly be stronger or smarter than he is. He continually reminds himself that Beowulf caught hold of him through trickery and accident. His last words echo this: "Poor Grendel's had an accident." He cannot believe that any living creature could get the better of him. He thought that he was immortal and this new realization is hard for him to believe.


A Songbird Who Sings said...

I'd guess that Beowulf was the culmination of what seems to me to be Grendel's constant search for some kind of meaning in his life. He had found a role to play as the "Destroyer" but even that became tedious for him eventually. Beowulf actually was a serious threat - even when Grendel first sees him, he knows somehow that there is something different about him, and it both scares and excites him.

Nevertheless, I think it's ultimately Grendel's existentialist search that leads him to his death. Had he stayed away from Beowulf, he likely would have lived much longer. But continuing to live in the same old pattern seems like it would be just as bad or possibly worse in Grendel's view - as he says, "Tedium is the worst pain." He wanted an escape from it, he got it. Fatally. Beggars can't be choosers.

On an unrelated note, I'm thinking of drawing my own version of Grendel - see if I can't get my personal mental image of him straight in my head. On another unrelated note, Beowulf is kind of creepy in the last chapter.

martitr said...

Hey -- Songbird, submit your drawing of Grendel to the literary magazine for extra credit. You can give it to me if you want.

martitr said...

I agree with you -- Beowulf is the culmination of Grendel's search for meaning. He could've avoided B. and continued to live but it would've been the same cat-and-mouse, uncommitted sort of living he'd been doing all along. Does B. force him to face reality? I think that's debatable...

eqprincess91 said...

haha lit-mag recruitment! I definitely agree... I think we're going to have to call it the arts-mag though. Do I get extra-credit if I already have stuff in the lit-mag?