Grendal Essay, Research Paper
John Gardner s captivating book Grendel is a literary masterpiece. It explores the life of a monster at first sight, but you find is more than meets the eye. In the following paragraphs I will take you through this awe-inspiring novel.
When we first meet Grendel in this novel we find him wasting with a ram. The story begins in Grendel s twelfth year of his idiotic war . The first chapter explains Grendel s life to some extent and the nature surrounding him. Grendel lives in a dark and gruesome underground cave with his mother and dozens of cold, unmoving creatures. We come to find out that Grendel is very curious, and in his early years finds a way to escape the terrible place where he dwells and enters the world, as you and I would have known it many moons ago.
Every night Grendel wonders outside his cave, exploring the land around him. One night, on one of his many excursions, he gets trapped in the root of a tree. A nearby bull attacks him and after hours of marauding the bull grows tired and leaves Grendel to die. After a time a band of human beings come along. They notice something hanging from the tree. They believe it is some kind of tree spirit. After minutes of arguing King Hrothgar decides to kill the evil spirit . In no time the king and his men hear a horrible noise descending upon them form the mountains, they quickly disperse. In doing so they allow Grendel s mother to come to here sons rescue. This ends Grendel s first encounter with humans.
Years after this encounter with Grendel, Hrothgar s power and influence grow. Hrothgar s army grows day by day. He attacks other tribe s mead halls. And with each victory he gains more allies, until he rules an immense territory. Hrothgar builds a glorious mead hall, the greatest in the land, and names it Hart. He builds roads to connect his kingdom and hires an immensely gifted Harper to play at special occasions. Grendel is fascinated by the Harper s music and tries to make contact with the humans, but he is attacked by the frightened guards and flees.
One night Grendel cannot sleep and travels to visit an ancient dragon that lives within the kingdom. The dragon speaks for some time and eventually breaks through to Grendel. Grendel later comes to find out that the dragon had put a charm on him, making him impervious to human blades. After the charm Grendel becomes a creature of pure destruction. At every spring, Grendel carries out several raids Hrothgar s mead hall. Grendel is very careful when he attacks, leaving just enough men to rebuild and grow for the next spring.
After many years Hrothgar discovers that one o his neighbors has become a threat to him. A young king, by the name of Unferth, has risen to power and soon his property will boarder Hrothgars . Weakened by Grendel s yearly raids, Hrothgar is afraid he cannot stand against an attack form the new king. He calls his people together and forms alarge army to march on the new king and start his downfall. Unferth is unprepared and helpless. In desperation he offers his young sister, Wealtheow, and Hrothgar marries her. A few years after his new wife s arrival at Hart, Hrothgar takes in his recently orphaned nephew Hrothulf and is advisor, Red Horse. Ad time goes on the young prince grows in mind and power and soon seeks the throne, and slowly begins to grow discontent among Hrothgar s people. The king, spiritually and physically dying, can do nothing to stop him.
By the twelfth year, Grendal has grown weary of his yearly routine and gruesome life. He is desperate for a challenge. He sees a band of warriors land on Hrothgar s shore. Beowulf, an immense, self-assured leader, leads them. And in his arrival Grendel senses something faintly wrong. Beowulf assures Hrothgar that he can slay Grendel, and gathers his men in the mead hall in preparation. Unable to resist the challenge and unavoidable change, Grendal attacks. Beowulf is stronger than anyone Grendel has ever met, and with a vicious jerk he rips Grendel s arm off. Grendel is terrified, desperate in his agony, and runs to the cliff outside his home. He stands over the edge, barely hanging ton to life, and lets himself fall into the chasm.
In conclusion, Grendel is a story of the life and times of a monster from long ago. A fictitious record of this monster s battle with Hrothgar, Beowulf, and of course life. He went from early monster hood, exploring the night and it s surroundings, to his nights of killing and torture to the local mead hall. In my opinion John Gardner s novel Grendal is a great fictitious novel.