Grendel is a character in Beowulf who has been described as a demon who has been terrorizing the people of Danes in Denmark. Grendel is never happy when the Danes are happy and will always wait for an opportunity to strike them up. This mostly happened when they were partying just to destroy the mood at the party. So huge and feared was he that people would fret at his mention and appearance. They longed for the day when he would be destroyed, and the arrival of Beowulf acted as a great revel to the community. Grendel has a mother, who is equally strong and powerful. She intervenes in situations where her son has been defeated; she makes her grand appearance in the poem after the death of her son (Lumiansky 50). She comes in full force to retaliate on the death of Grendel but unfortunately, she is killed by Beowulf.
Grendel can be defined in the following three aspects; he is jealousy, lonely and desperate.
Jealousy: the description given to Grendel reveals the jealousy situation that he is into. He does not delight in the celebration of the Danes and will always plan an attack on them when they are celebrating. The moments he makes his appearance in the novel is when the Danes are celebrating. This implies that he hates to see people happy and will always do all he can to interrupt that happiness. This is mainly because where he lives, he is not privileged t have a group of friends or a community where he can also celebrate (Maughan & Gerard 160). As a matter of fact, he has no reason to celebrate and hence burns with jealousy to see and know that other people, who are his greatest enemies, are celebrating.
Lonely: Grendel is one lonely man with no close friends or family members to interact with. The only person that he has and closely associates with is his mother, yet she cannot cure her lonely lifestyle. As other people live in communities and homesteads, Grendel has been described as a demon who mostly lives in the swamps with his mother. He has no where to go or anything to do. All he does is to spy and monitor the Danes and plan an attack on them whenever they are in a celebration mood.
Desperate: Grendel’s desperation leads him to commit evil against the Danes, with the hope that he will find fulfillment. Grendel is a demon, and hence excommunicated from the society. He is feared and dreaded by people and bears mostly characters of an animal. He is held in between being a human being and an animal, as situation that makes him feel uncomfortable about his identity. From his action, Grendel seems to be desperate to be identified with human characters, yet the very humans isolate him and look at him as a demon (Tolkien 34). In his desperation, he makes an appearance to prove his masculinity and feelings of human nature by fighting and even killing the Danes.
If Grendel could make an appearance in the current society, he could be sought of a hard core criminal that has been terrorizing the community. He is widely known, yet arresting him is quite difficult because of his unannounced appearances. He has spent most of his life as a criminal due to his background. He is similar to a character that was born in unstable family where his parents abandoned him due to the disagreements they had. The parents divorced and thereafter moving on with heir lives, leaving Grendel under the chare of multiple relatives who also abandoned him because of his character. He dropped out of school at a very young age and spent most of his childhood years on the streets. While on the streets, he learned various survival tactics including robbing, lying and the likes. As he grew up, he perfected his survival skills even as his needs increased. He became a hard core robber who would even kill to get what he wanted.
His criminal lifestyle is hence due to his upbringing and background. He has missed important aspects of life in his upbringing including enjoying a happy childhood. He has no feelings for humans and feels like an outcast. Nobody has ever given him the love and the care that he needs and hence making him feel lonely, jealousy and desperate. Engaging in acts of robbery and even murder is not only inspired by his needs but also as a form of retaliating on the community for not caring for him well enough. He is at a point where he needs to be shown love, yet because of his character, everybody around him shun and avoids him (Brodeur 84). He therefore lives his life plotting criminal activities that involve killing and even raping his victims.
Characters like Grendel are feared and dreaded by the community. In fact when children are young and are growing up, they are told about him and even warned against him. Parents will use the mention f his name to instill discipline among their children. Girls will be warned against walking a lone or even coming home late with the warning that Grendel will catch up with them and rape them. The people in the community fear them and will not even wish to meet him, leave alone fight them. a character like Grendel are the ones on the list of the most wanted criminals by the government and the police are on the look out for them (Sisam 65). Because of his criminal history and experience, the police have to very careful when they have to arrest him. In fact, he is the kind of criminal that no one will dare arrest when they are found but only to be shot dead.
Grandel is looked at as a good for nothing fellow and that his mission on earth is to kill and destroy. Nobody understands his background, apart from a few old people who have scanty information about him. Even so, nobody wants to identify with him as his relative, making it difficult to trace his roots. Grandel has hard a difficult background yet nobody appears to empathize with his situation. He needs love, protection and even association, yet nobody around him cares. He has no specific place of residence and does all he can to hide from any possible attacks from the police. He is however a fearless man, knowing that nobody cares for him. He kills both young and old and shows no remorse for his actions (Cicchetti 95). The only way he can associate and identify with human beings is by causing them destruction. He will hence look for a perfect opportunity to strike. He mostly strikes at night, when people are sleeping. Using machetes and knives to break into houses and killing whoever he can kill and run with whatever he can.
Brodeur, Arthur Gilchrist. The art of Beowulf. Univ of California Press, 1971.
Cicchetti, Dante, and Vicki Carlson, eds. Child maltreatment: Theory and research on the causes and consequences of child abuse and neglect. Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Lumiansky, Robert M. "The Dramatic Audience in" Beowulf"." The Journal of English and Germanic Philology (1952): 545-550.
Maughan, Barbara, and Gerard McCarthy. "Childhood adversities and psychosocial disorders." British Medical Bulletin 53.1 (1997): 156-169.
Sisam, Kenneth. The structure of Beowulf. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965.
Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel. Beowulf: the Monsters and the Critics. Vol. 18. London, 1936.