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Word Count: 604
In the alchemy of mans soul almost all noble attributes- courage honor love hope faith duty loyalty and so on- can be transmuted into ruthlessness Compassion alone stands apart from the continuous traffic between good and evil proceeding within us Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul where there is compassion even the most poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless Eric Hoffer This too is true for Grendel for in Grendel by John Gardner he is split into two souls one full of compassion and another filled with hate Grendel is clearly not the slobbering beast portrayed in Beowulf but an individual full of thoughts that is driven to evil by his exile from society Grendel is portrayed as two separate individuals the logical man wishing to coexist with humanity and the murderous brute whom kills for no reason Before he goes to see the dragon he is innocent and curious simply exploring the vast cavern aboveground Gardner 16 that he has recently found His ignorance is shown by the fact that he believes that the world is a cavern He simply doesnt understand the humans or how society works While in the tree Grendel means no harm but incapable of understanding Grendel the humans become frightened and attack him drawing first blood Bitter from the confrontation Grendel visits the dragon and soon becomes infected with the poison of the dragons philosophies Grendel soon believes Nihil ex nihilo Gardner 150 life has no meaning The new Grendel has no respect for life and simply kills to fill the nothingness in his life This Grendel is evil yet sympathy is felt for Grendel for somewhere deep within his soul is the innocent and curious child which was driven to evil by a judgmental society Grendel is exiled from society and is forced to live his meaningless life alone Humans believe that Form fits function Gardner 91 and thus believe that Grendel can not
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