"Grendel" by John Gardner - Dragon's alteration to view on life

Essay by rotwyla98High School, 10th gradeA-, March 2007

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In the novel "Grendel" by John Gardner, Grendel, the main character, is a vivacious creature in the beginning of the book. He has fun, experiences the world, explores new areas, and has an overall optimistic point of view on life. This mindset changes significantly to a pessimistic view on life immediately after he has his encounter with the Dragon. In the end, the Dragon’s bleak view of existence directly causes Grendel’s demise.

The day previous to Grendel’s meeting with the Dragon, he entered the Dane’s mead hall asking for mercy, begging for peace, wanting to become their friend. He was rejected by them and almost killed. From that moment, he resolved to never go back to them and terrorize them. When Grendel met with the omniscient Dragon, he listened to a speech is like one he has never heard before. The Dragon talked about the future, the past and the present.

He talked about how no matter what you do, whether it is save the world, or kill the Danes, in the end, it is all irrelevant. All events lead to one ultimate ending, Armageddon. This is what gave Grendel the gloomy view on life. He was convinces that everything that happened did not matter and that life was pointless. This thinking made him retract his vow to not terrorize the Danes. It was because of this decision that Beowulf came. It was because of this decision that Grendel fell.

Grendel has now chosen to torture the Danes as his “irrelevancy”. He frequents going next to the mead hall and listening in to the Shaper singing. It was on one such night that a guard snuck up on him from behind and attacked him. Grendel dodged the sword, once, twice, but was finally...