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Contrast of Grendel and Beowulf The epic is a long narrative poem that recounts the adventures of a hero who embodies the culture and ideals of the society in which the epic is based The characteristics of the warrior culture of the Anglo-Saxons are displayed in the epic Beowulf the national epic of England In the epic the Geat warrior hero Beowulf comes to the aid of the Danish King Hrothgar and slays the demon Grendel who he has been ravaging his lands for twelve years Written around 750 AD by an unknown poet Beowulf is considered by most to be the first masterpiece of the English language Beowulf belongs to the present as well as the past Over one thousand years later in 1971 John Gardner wrote a modern version of the epic In re-working the epic Beowulf into prose Gardner created the modern novel Grendel that is markedly different from its source in both form and content One main difference in the two works is the way the author favors the protagonist in each work In Grendel the reader through knowing Grendels thoughts develops a feeling of empathy toward him and understands why the monster attacks the humans In fact Grendel appears to be the character that is abused The king snatched an ax without warning he hurled it at me Grendel complains when the king makes an unprovoked attack on him He bellows about his inability to speak to his own mother She had forgotten all language long agoId never heard her speak to the other shapes In Beowulf however the feeling of empathy is shifted toward the humans because Grendel is depicted as an evil demon that enjoys killing humans Grendel is not a part of the race of men but a demon grim Grim and greedy the gruesome monster attacks Hrothgars court and unmercifully kills his men In short the novel depicts Grendel as more than just the
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