What is the role of art in Grendel?

Grendel, the main character in Grendel and the secondary character in Beowulf, faces external battles but the most important battle take place internally.

How is the theme of isolation presented in Grendel?

In what way is Grendel’s quest for a place in the cosmos cyclical in nature?

Describe Grendel’s relationship with his mother.

Grendel is a novel driven by the main character's sense of isolation. Grendel cannot relate to his mother, whom he considers little more than a brute beast, nor can he make himself understood by the humans he encounters, even though he understands their speech. Grendel is a perpetual outsider, looking for a place to belong. His high-handed search for philosophical meaning is ultimately one more attempt to know who he is and where he belongs.

What motivates Grendel to attack the Scyldings?

By adopting Grendel’s point of view, and by making the monster more an adolescent than a fully formed adult creature, Gardner draws the reader into Grendel’s personal quest for understanding his place in the universe. By depicting Grendel’s earliest encounters with the sunlit world as random acts of violence toward him, Gardner gives Grendel a motive for his anger and frustration toward humanity and the world in general.

The  section for Grendel is a greatresource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

In the first, he battles the monster Grendel.

The dragon denies that there is such a thing as destiny, yet at the same time states that it knows Grendel's role in the universe. The dragon circumvents this seeming contradiction by claiming to see past, present, and future simultaneously: knowledge is not cause, nor is it evidence of some higher purpose. Grendel attempts to thwart the dragon's prophesied role for himself, but only ends up doing exactly what the dragon said he would. This would seem to place the novel firmly in the "fate" camp.

In the second, he battles Grendel's mother.

Conflict. As old as time itself is the struggle of the hero vs. an unstoppable foe (good vs. evil). We’ve seen it in the bible (David and Goliath), in ancient stories (Beowulf vs. Grendel), the Roman Gladiators, and throughout our history in battles and stories. It is ingrained in our society so much that even in our modern era, conflict still exists as a commonplace item (not counting wars – sports, video games, movies, etc.). Let’s examine the story of Beowulf vs. Grendel in this context (good vs. evil).If this doesn’t work for you, here is a link dedicated to essays on Beowulf-Good-vs-evil-Analysis

Thesis Statement on Grendel | Category: English

Grendel study guide contains a biography of John Gardner, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

On the other hand, it is obvious that "evil" Grendel could not survive without the "good" humans.

Every night Grendel goes to the mead hall and eats 30 men.

However, when Grendel attacks the Scyldings and targets , he chooses not to kill her. He claims that to kill her would be his "ultimate act of nihilism," a self-destructive decision that would at least end Grendel's boredom, but he refuses to end the tedious cycle, leaving the reader to ponder whether Grendel freely chose to spare the queen, or if he cannot help but perpetuate the cycle of violence and despair.

How is Grendel affected by the concepts of good and evil.

The reason is never completely stated. I think it might have something to do with Beowulf wanting to watch how Grendel attacks and catching Grendel off guard.

One of Grendel’s archenemies is the human.

Grendel’s observations about human religion tend to focus on the hypocritical nature of human interaction with divinities. The Shaper is a religious figure in many ways, but Grendel and the human audience both know the words he sings are not true, even as they believe them. The priests who accost Ork at the circle of gods also betray their hypocrisy. They cannot accept that Ork has actually interacted with the very gods they represent, even to the point of considering Ork’s fanaticism as possible problem for their reputations.