Socratic Seminar Questions
With the third-person point of view in the epic poem, the narrator only describes Grendel’s actions, but not what he is actually feeling in the story: “He found them sprawling in sleep, suspecting/Nothing, their dreams undisturbed...he slipped through the door and there in the silence snatched up thirty men” (lines 35-37). The reader only looks at the actions Grendel is doing, which elicits less sympathy for the character. In Grendel, however, the reader is able to zone into what Grendel is feeling and his reasoning behind his motives: “I can barely walk, my chest-hair matted with dribbled blood, and then the roosters on the hill crow, and dawn comes over the roofs of the houses, and all at once I am filled with ...view middle of the document...
However in the novel Grendel, the reader has a sense of what Grendel is thinking throughout his deeds and explains why he wanted to wreck havoc on Hrothgar and the Danes. He was sick and tired of Hrothgar’s extensive wars that were filled with violence and murder: “I remembered the ragged men fighting each other till the snow was red slush, whining in winter, the shriek of people and animals burning, the whip-slashed oxen in the mire, the scattered battle-leavings: wolf-torn corpses, falcons fat with blood” (Gardner 50). Grendel is expressed as something capable of doing good, yet he chooses evil, because of the unforgiving society in which he lives in and their obstinate refusals of understanding him.
Instead of trying to be poetic in Beowulf, the modern prose acts like a sort of autobiography about Grendel for the reader. There is a better understanding about the book because the modern language is better to understand than the Old English. The reader can relate to the characters more when the thoughts and feelings of the character are brought open. This allows people to sympathize with Grendel in the novel and ultimately make their own decisions as whether Grendel is truly all evil within.
Lots of the literary elements in Beowulf were trying to bring more attention to specific stanzas, such as the use of alliteration: “Showed sea-cliffs shining” or “His pledge and promise” (lines 21-22;168-169). Kennings are also a huge literary device used in the epic poem, which gives more emphasis to the character and describes him/her in a unique way. In Grendel, there is a lot of imagery and pathos to describe Grendel and the many events he encounters: “Black sawdust, squirreldust, was spattered up the leg almost to the