A three dimensional character is arranged into three main points to show how the character is animalistic, humanistic, and supernatural. Grendel kills numerous men and women in the epic battle of Beowulf; the greatest literary work that has survived from the Anglo-Saxon age. As the literary poem, Beowulf, goes on Grendel explores his inner self, a hidden progression of beliefs are introduced.
Grendel has many animalistic characteristics. For example, he had an unusual body strength, a strange diet, eating meat and living in an unusual human society. “Grendel’s horrible appearance and nasty eating habits, very little actually separates him from humans” (John). He is seen by other people as a monster. “Grendel hunted while they slept” (Pg. 411). The narrator refers to him as a “powerful monster, living down in the darkness” (pg.410). “Thoughts were as quick as his greed or his claws” (Pg. 410). He had a powerful jaw that would kill a person in one bite. He had very strong claws that could tear a human being. His fire red eyes and pointed horns gave him a devil appearance. Because of his looks, he was feared by most. “He became the origin of a whole new race of monsters, and Grendel is part of that race. ” (Emily Russel).
In Beowulf, the narrator emphasizes Grendel’s life and human life characteristics. Through Beowulf Grendel’s reflection of human characteristics humanizes Grendel as this monstrous character that becomes known as a “human”. “…And defeat, the tears torn out of Grendel’s t throat, hell’s captive caught in the arms…”(Pg. 417). Grendel is able to feel lonely, feel pain, he also gets jealous. “As the battle went on a breach in the giant flesh-frame showed then, shoulder-muscles sprang apart, there was a snapping of tendons, bone-locks burst…” Grendel fled homeward “to a den where he knew there could be no relief, no refuge for a life at its very last stage (Pg. 418).” Grendel showed jealousy and loneliness which lead him to outrage, anger, and becoming a killer. “He’s been outlawed, or thrown out of society; his life has no worth. In other words, he can be hunted and killed. This probably contributes to his anger issues and tendency toward extreme violence” (Emily Russel). He watches and listens to the humans and what goes on in Hart, the meadhall of King Hrothgar, to feel like he is a part of human society. “He is an intelligent and temperamental monster, capable of rational thought as well as irrational outbursts of emotion. Throughout the novel, the monster Grendel often seems as human as the people he observes” (John).
Grendel’s physical appearance and strength are the main reasons for his supernatural characteristics. For example, he is able to carry thirty warriors at a time. “Drank the blood from his veins and bolted him down, hands and feet; death and Grendel’s great teeth came together,
snapping life shut” (Pg. 416). His aggressiveness is due to jealousy and loneliness. Grendel wants to live within the human society and experience real human features. “Although Grendel looks something like a man — having two arms (or claws), two legs, and one head — he is much larger and can defeat dozens of men at a time”(Houghton). Yet, he will always be seen as a monster and an outsider to human society. “With the coming of night came Grendel…maddening with rage, he struck quickly, creature of evil, grim and greedy, he grasped on their pallets, thirty warriors, and away he was out of there, thrilled with his catch (Pg. 413).” Grendel is only mean to those who do wrong him or his family. The thanes, of Hrothgar’s kingdom see Grendel as a demon from hell, representing all that’s evil in the world. “He devours some of the dead on the spot and carries others back to his lair, the cave he shares with his mother beneath a mere in a dark fen” (Houghton). It shows his massive strength when he snaps the warriors neck in the fight scene in the battle in thee mead hall.
Because of Grendel’s appearance, behavior, and motivation he was feared by many. These characteristics made him the typical Ango-Saxon character. He’s a supernatural creature and in this time period anything supernatural that wasn’t human was considered a spirit, a god, evil or,