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Empathizing With a Monster In the novels Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney and Grendel by John Gardner there is a character that is vividly portrayed This character is the monster Grendel a non-human being portrayed in two separate ways The Anglo-Saxons view Grendel as evil theres no arguing that point The Anglo-Saxon view is highly original and different because In Anglo-Saxon society one of the principal contaminants was the warrior code which was so deeply rooted that the church had to condone the blood feud down to the end of the Anglo-Saxon period Ogilvy 33 However when the reader sees the story portrayed through Grendels perspective he starts to empathize with Grendel rather than fear him In the beginning of Beowulf Grendel is presented as a fiend out of hell haunting the marshes marauding round the heath and the desolate fens Heaney 9 Grendel is an evil monster from hell However in the novel Grendel the reader sees Grendel trying to befriend the humans and even talk to them Mercy Peace The harper broke off the people screamed Gardner 52 Grendel tries to be nice to them but because of his appearance and size the people automatically fear him and try to hurt him They are taught to be fearful of all things associated with hell so just because Grendel is of Cains clan they shun him and automatically label him as evil This in turn makes him upset and lash out against others in his desperation One of the most over looked aspects of Grendel in Beowulf is that he has feelings It harrowed him to hear the din of the loud banquet every day in the hall Heaney 9 Grendel was distressed and upset by the music of the hall and therefore capable of having feelings However throughout the rest of the novel Grendel is characterized as being inhuman and having no feelings which shows
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