One of the most famous battles depicted in the English literature has involved Grendel and Beowulf; Grendel has been regarded as the most puzzling and complex characters to have appeared in the western culture. As the poem begins, the author explains how Hroogar, the Danes King managed to establish Heorot, which was a great hall for various community functions.
In this venue, his warriors and children are seen celebrating the spoils the victories they have achieved in their battles. Grendel becomes irritated by the noises coming from the king, the warriors revelries and the celebrations, he thus begins to attack the hall where they are gathered, eating most of the warriors and people (Gummere, 2012). In as much as Grendel is eager to murder all the residents celebrating in the hall, he is unable to approach the throne of King Hroogar. According to the narrator, the king’s throne is heavily secured, not just by warriors, but also with a powerful god that has kept Grendel away.
In this poem, Grendel is amongst the chief antagonists, together with the dragon and his mother that later appear in the course of the poem (Rumford, 2007). In the Beowulf poem, Grendel is portrayed as demon that feeds on men. In the poem, the narrator explains that Grendel has persistently attacked the hall belonging King Hroogar, killing anyone that crosses his path and eating him or her.
Grendel’s Character in the Poem
In the Beowulf poem, Grendel can be described as being among the interest characters, this is because; he presents a mix of both the beast and the man. In the poem, he is involved in various activities that are influenced by the fury that is depended on human feelings of jealousy and resentment. According to the narrator, Grendel is simply a powerful and huge descendent in the lineage of Cain, who is quoted in the Bible as the first murderer, after killing his brother Abel over jealousy (Gummere, 2012).
According to the Hebrew interpretation, the name Cain is Qayin, which means “creature,” according to the legend; monsters in the earth that appear in the form of human beings are simply descendants of Cain. They are often considered as dangerous people that are motivated by jealous and feelings of resentment.
One of the attributes of Grendel in the poem is that he is angry, resentful and envious towards humankind; this arises from the notion that God has blessed them. In addition, he is resentful because God cannot bless him, this gives him a lot of jealous over human kind and hence his actions to torture, kill and eat them (Gummere, 2012). Once people gather to celebrate over the victories they have achieved in war, good music, joy and light are evident in the Kings beautiful hall, Heorot. This development angers Grendel and he decides to storm and destroy them when they are in the midst of their celebrations.
Grendel has all the features of a man; he has organs like them, a head, two legs and arms or claws. However, Grendel is significantly a huge figure that defeats dozens of the king’s warriors at ago (Rumford, 2007). One of the strengths of Grendel is that he has a magic charm that is essential in protecting him from the weapons used by the king’s warriors. After defeating the king’s warriors, he grabs and eats some of the dead men while carrying others whom he eats together with his mother while they are seated underneath the water pool in a certain dark swamp.
The attributes of Grendel can be used to describe an individual belonging to a tribe that is cast away from the society, in this case, Heorot. Alternatively, he can be described as human warrior that has the habit of killing and eating other people simply because of a psychopathic issue or the mere satisfaction of killing.
Throughout the poem, the origin of this main character- Grendel is largely unclear, this is something that increases the mystery that surrounds this character. In this poem, Grendel is a good depiction of most of the human qualities and attributed that can be deemed primitive and immature. On the other hand, he is described as monster that is intelligent in his own way but very temperamental. In this case, he has can have good and rational thoughts, but at the same time, he can also outburst with many irrational emotions.
In this poem, the particular history that is described of Grendel adds impetus to his ambiguous characterization. However, instead of drawing on Grendel and the human race as being closely related, the history that these two parties have puts them in a sort of long-lasting enmity (Rumford, 2007). The poem’s narrator has been effective in depicting the character of human beings in a different way, has shown that humans have violence tendencies and would always hurt their fellow beings whenever they are angered or are jealous over various incidences.
In addition, the narrator has indicated effectively that the philosophical quest shown by Grendel is a normal one. He demonstrates that the quest Grendel is pursuing is that of urgency that is heightened by his position as an outside member of the society. In this case, the poem is a good learning opportunity of how we should respond to various issues presented in our human societies.
Gummere, F. (2012). Beowulf. S.l: Duke Classics.
Rumford, J. (2007). Beowulf: A heros tale retold. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.