Grendel And Beowulf Comparison

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade October 2001

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Thesis: Grendel, Beowulf, and Unferth all have definitions of what makes a hero and their environment and heritage defines them.

In the novel Grendel written by John Gardner, and the anonymous epic poem Beowulf, heroism is viewed by many to be an important asset.

Because of his genuine qualities, Beowulf sees himself as a true hero and wants everyone to remember him. According to Beowulf, there are certain aspects one must acquire in order to be a true hero. Without boasting about it, one must display strength, bravery, graciousness, loyalty, respect, and calmness. In his effort in becoming a hero, Beowulf states that he will never swear, seek out lying war, or kill his kinsmen. Because he has not committed any of these acts, he feels he is more at peace with himself and knows he can die happy. This is depicted when Beowulf says, "This life happy; I can die, here, knowing the Lord of all lift has never watched me wash my sword in blood born of my own family" (31).

Beowulf's personal goal is to seek fame after death. He requests that his kinsmen build a great tower so all the sailors can see it, and in return, he will receive recognition for his greatness.

Grendel has always been the enemy, opponent, and foe. He is a descendant of Cain, and because of that is cursed for life of enjoying the world. Grendel is always rejected by the humans and can not understand why they do not accept him. He meets the Dragon, who shows him a different perspective on life and changes Grendel's life thereafter. Grendel goes to war with the humans for twelve years and becomes the "anti-hero."� He is everything that he sees to be honorable and hero like which is the...