Grendel Final Assessment
“Comatose” by Skillet
4th Stanza: The line “you take the pain I feel” is an example of existentialism. This is an example of existentialism because the individual is giving their interpretation of how the pain feels to them. Existentialists believe in individual freedom as well as the personal responsibility that goes along with being free. John Gardner questions life to help understand and develop his ideas. Existentialism is not only existent in Grendel, but John Gardner also uses Grendel to show how ineffective, loveless, and creates corruption in society. Since Grendel is portrayed by Gardner as a pointless monster, Grendel's unconfidence leads him to feel as if the world is worthless. Grendel, persuaded by the Dragon, says, “one evil deed missed is a loss for all eternity” (146). The Dragon is also portrayed as an existentialist when he
In philosophical terms, Grendel's visit with the dragon pushes Grendel's inherent existentialism to the more extreme philosophy of nihilism. Existentialism is a school of thought that presupposes the absence of God and a total lack of meaning in life. As such, existentialism asserts that there are no intrinsic morals or values in the world: man has complete freedom to assert any meaning—or no meaning—as he pleases. Nihilism takes existentialism a step further, to an even bleaker worldview. Like existentialists, nihilists deny the existence of any inherent meaning or value in the world. Under such a system, meaningful distinctions between things are impossible, and therefore all attempts to make such distinctions eventually come to nothing. To the dragon, the values of piety, charity, nobility, and altruism are totally interchangeable irrelevancies. The dragon's notion that the passage of time will erase all evidence of mankind speaks directly to one of the anxieties found in the original Beowulf text. As a record of historical acts of...