Our Very Own Grendel: The Uncanny Resemblance of Character

Published: 2021-08-01 15:10:08
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Category: Books, Poems

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When pondering the question, ‘Did the character of Grendel remind you of someone you know?”, I firstly tried thinking of an individual who could possess some similar traits to Grendel. Evil, malicious, resentful, stealthy – no one came to mind. Then reality struck me to my core as I realized that our current society does have Grendel’s in our midst. The modern day mass shooter fits the personality traits with their isolated, marginalized, angry, and bitter outlook towards other.
The character Grendel reminds me of the depraved and lonely individuals in our modern society. Labeled as an outsider, Grendel lets his anger and resentment of others overtake him which leads him to chose to kill innocent lives. “My advice to you, my violent friend, is to seek out gold and sit on it” -74 Grendel is never physically described throughout the novel, so you can assume he blends in – just like a mass shooter would. He is known to be descended from Cain who (according to the Bible), committed the first murder when he killed his brother, Abel, in a jealous rage. Grendel abhors his own intelligence because he knows he will never be able to communicate with people. “…I watch the idea of violence growing in him and apprehension and all of them and I enjoyed myself (old hellroads-runner, earth-rim-roamer), sucking glee from spite –O sucking to the pits!” -116 He has accepted the reality that he will be isolated for life and will never be able to be a part of civilization. Our modern leaders are not unlike King Hrothgar where they seem perpetually frozen amidst the catastrophic carnage, unable to forge or develop any helpful way forward.The tale of Grendel ends on a despairing note. After essentially getting defeated by the stranger (who is later known as Beowolf, who proudly was able to rip his arm out of socket), Grendel crawls away to his cavern. There he sobs for his mother who is nowhere to be found and incapable of communicating with him as he bleeds to death in his grotto. Unfortunately, this to, is relatable to our current times where the outcomes of mass shootings end up with the shooter taking his own life. The agony and turmoil of Grendel mirror the violence that strikes from within the modern day mass shooter’s resentment filled mindset. Essentially each killer is our society’s very own Grendel.

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