This preview has intentionally blurred parts. Sign up to view the full document

View Full Document

Unformatted Document Excerpt

Grendel Plot Overview G RENDEL , A LARGE BEARLIKE MONSTER , has spent the last twelve years locked in a war against a band of humans. The main action of Grendel takes place in the last year of that war, but the novel skips back in time in order to illuminate the origins of the conflict as well as Grendels personal history. As a young monster, Grendel lives with his mother in a cave on the outskirts of human civilization. A foul, wretched creature who long ago abandoned language, Grendels mother is his only kin or companion. One day, the young Grendel discovers a lake full of firesnakes and, swimming through it, reaches the human world on the other side. On one of his early explorations he finds himself caught in a tree. A bull and then a band of humans attack Grendel before his mother rescues him. Grendel becomes fascinated with the world of men, watching from a safe distance as mankind evolves from a nomadic, tribal culture into a feudal system with roads, governments, and militaries. He is alternately befuddled by their actions and disgusted by their wasteful, brute violence. Grendel watches as Hrothgar of the Danes (also known as the Scyldings, after an illustrious ancestor) develops into the most powerful king in the area. Eventually, Hrothgars power and fortune attract the services of the Shaper, a court bard who sings glorious tales of Danish kings and heroes. Though the Shapers songs are only partially based on fact, their imaginative visions of a supremely ordered moral world are incredibly powerful and invigorating. Inspired by the Shapers words, Hrothgar builds a magnificent meadhall and names it Hart. Even Grendel, who has witnessed the true, savage history of the Danes, finds the Shapers vision extremely seductive and becomes ashamed at his own brute, bestial nature.... View Full Document

End of Preview

Sign up now to access the rest of the document