gardners grendel and existentialism

Gardner chose to display the philosophical idea of existentialism in his novel, Grendel. Grendel, the main character, shows proof of supporting these ideas. Existentialism related to the basic idea of individualism, in which each individual is an isolated being too which is cast into an alien universe. In this literary theory, it is believed that the world possesses no inherent human truth, value or meaning. Existentialists believe that there is no god and no heaven, and Gardner uses this belief in his novel “They sense that, of course, from time to time; have uneasy feelings that all they live by is nonsense.

They have dim apprehensions that such propositions as ‘God does not exist’ are somewhat dubious at least in comparison with statements like ‘All carnivorous cows eat meat. ’” (pg 64-65) Observing from a different viewpoint, this realm of thought gives individuals freedom to do as they please, without possessing any external pressures. In a world without sense, all choices are possible. One has the freedom to make each decision based on one’s own personal code of ethics and commitment to one’s self, as opposed to being swayed by societal pressures or religious beliefs.

This principle gives people sovereignty; it makes people happy knowing they have no responsibilities in life. Grendel views the world as an open space of “nothingness” to which he entered, to which the nothingness where it must end. He comes to the realization that his own, along with every other individuals existence is merely just a flash in time, “in a billion billion billion years, everything will have come and gone several times, in various forms” (page70).

He possesses the belief that all men are mechanical. He is given the opportunity to observe and study them, introducing him to the idea of conformity, with the desire that he too can find meaning in this world. At the beginning of the novel Grendel demonstrates pure innocence. With the story of his first encounter with men, after getting his foot stuck in a crack where two old tree trunks joined he yells “Mama! Waa! Waa! ”, with an urgent need to define things and find a meaning for himself.

But as the novel progresses, Grendel turns into a monster and taking up the ideas that “the world [is] nothing: a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears” (21-22). It is because of events like this that Grendel started to take existentialist views on the world, then when he met the dragon these beliefs started to enhance. When the dragon enters the plot, he convinces Grendel to attack King Hrothgar’s Mead Hall, in hopes of possessing a purpose and fitting into the world, allowing him to temporarily exist with mankind.

Following the incident, he continues to possess the ability to think for himself, he detaches his thoughts from his previous decisions to view the situation objectively. In doing so he comes to the realization that he will never mesh with this world completely and feels trapped and empty, like a monster with visions of himself killing the men. Struggling to keep his own sanity, Grendel comes to the realization he cannot continue to live his life this way, realizing he is in complete isolation.

It is not until his depression, that he comes to the realization he does not want to live the life of a monster, making the decision to refuse to kill Unferth as well as Wealtheow, realizing it had no purpose, going against his previous role, with great desire to give his life meaning. However, it is not until he, the unstoppable monster, surrenders to Beowulf, allowing him to rip his arm from his socket, giving in to his “design,” when he is able to attain true happiness. Grendel’s desire for meaning goes against all beliefs of existentialism.

From the beginning of the novel, to the middle, and all the way to the end, we see Grendel go through many different changes. The reason he is an existentialist in the middle of the novel is because he kills with no meaning. There is no purpose for his kills; he is just confused with life and does what others tell him, which is to kill. Finally when Grendel starts thinking for himself he realizes that there is no purpose to killing, this is when he finally decides he does not want to be a monster. A true monster finds joy out of his kills and thinks of it as a victory, which is what truly proves Grendel is not a monster.

"Looking for a Similar Assignment? Order now and Get a Discount!

Assignments Writing Service | Get Better Grades Effortlessly
Calculate your paper price
Pages (550 words)
Approximate price: -

Why Work with Us

Top Quality and Well-Researched Papers

We always make sure that writers follow all your instructions precisely. You can choose your academic level: high school, college/university or professional, and we will assign a writer who has a respective degree.

Professional and Experienced Academic Writers

We have a team of professional writers with experience in academic and business writing. Many are native speakers and able to perform any task for which you need help.

Free Unlimited Revisions

If you think we missed something, send your order for a free revision. You have 10 days to submit the order for review after you have received the final document. You can do this yourself after logging into your personal account or by contacting our support.

Prompt Delivery and 100% Money-Back-Guarantee

All papers are always delivered on time. In case we need more time to master your paper, we may contact you regarding the deadline extension. In case you cannot provide us with more time, a 100% refund is guaranteed.

Original & Confidential

We use several writing tools checks to ensure that all documents you receive are free from plagiarism. Our editors carefully review all quotations in the text. We also promise maximum confidentiality in all of our services.

24/7 Customer Support

Our support agents are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and committed to providing you with the best customer experience. Get in touch whenever you need any assistance.

Try it now!

Calculate the price of your order

Total price:
$0.00

How it works?

Follow these simple steps to get your paper done

Place your order

Fill in the order form and provide all details of your assignment.

Proceed with the payment

Choose the payment system that suits you most.

Receive the final file

Once your paper is ready, we will email it to you.

Our Services

No need to work on your paper at night. Sleep tight, we will cover your back. We offer all kinds of writing services.

Essays

Essay Writing Service

No matter what kind of academic paper you need and how urgent you need it, you are welcome to choose your academic level and the type of your paper at an affordable price. We take care of all your paper needs and give a 24/7 customer care support system.

Admissions

Admission Essays & Business Writing Help

An admission essay is an essay or other written statement by a candidate, often a potential student enrolling in a college, university, or graduate school. You can be rest assurred that through our service we will write the best admission essay for you.

Reviews

Editing Support

Our academic writers and editors make the necessary changes to your paper so that it is polished. We also format your document by correctly quoting the sources and creating reference lists in the formats APA, Harvard, MLA, Chicago / Turabian.

Reviews

Revision Support

If you think your paper could be improved, you can request a review. In this case, your paper will be checked by the writer or assigned to an editor. You can use this option as many times as you see fit. This is free because we want you to be completely satisfied with the service offered.

Get better grades effortlesslyIt’s cheaper than you might think

Effortlessly get the essays and grades you need. You can now get any essay, on any subject and at ANY deadline with just 10 minutes of your time (or less). Your professor will love you for it!