The hero in the story of Grendel is not defined as a particular person; rather, it appears Grendel has undertones of a hero in himself from his point of view. Since Grendel is telling his own life story, his pattern of thinking and logic must be unwoven to discern whether or not everything that he tells us is believable. This does not mean that he is completely wrong or completely right, however. What it does mean, though, is that the point of view that the story is told is biased to Grendel. One standpoint other than Grendel’s which should be taken into account is the humans’.
Their feelings about him were that he was not only the enemy, but that he was the definition of evil. After all, he ate several of their fellow men, not to mention the fact that he was a hairy beast that crept around the mead hall and wasn’t able to be pierced or cut. To humans, often times, irregularity and uncommonness is just as much of a threat as an enemy itself. From the beginning of written history, different ethnic backgrounds, religious groups, or sexual orientations have been a very large part of arguments and even wars.
To the people, Grendel was a threat to their well being before he ever attacked, killed, or ate a human. It should also be taken into perspective Beowulf’s point of view on this subject since he was the cause of Grendel’s death. Of course, Beowulf is not going to support Grendel as a hero, because he himself came to be the hero of the Danes and to kill Grendel for them. To Beowulf, Grendel is just another sea monster that doesn’t deserve to live and terrorize peoples’ lives. However, Beowulf does tell Grendel that he makes his own miseries in life.
This could tell us that if Grendel had been educated on the lifestyles of human beings and the way that they fill roles and beliefs in society, Grendel may have had an opportunity not to mess up. What this leads to, in contrast to Beowulf’s belief, is that Grendel may have been a tragic hero. There is also another character that should be analyzed in concluding whether or not Grendel is a hero. This character is the dragon, who told Grendel that he should find a pile of gold and sit on it.
According to what he told Grendel, from his position, Grendel must have been a hero, because whether he was killing and eating humans or causing them to live in fear of his actions, he was making them a better and more advanced society, which was a good thing ultimately. However, the dragon knew the perception of the humans and told Grendel that he should do nothing, because whether or not he kills the people, there will be murder either within their society or another creature or being will do the job.
This contradicts the definition of being a tragic hero, because Grendel was informed of what he could have done instead of fight. Yet another standpoint that should be taken into judgment is Grendel’s. Not even he was able to make himself look like a hero. Such an example from the story is: “Half awake, half asleep, I felt as if I were myself the cave, my thoughts coursing downward through my own strange hollows… or some impulse older and darker than thought, as old as the mindless mechanics of a bear, the twilight meditations of a wolf a tree…
He describes himself as a worthless creature. Yes, there were some undertones of heroism in what he explains throughout the story, but as an over all view, if he wasn’t able to even make himself come across as a hero, let alone a tragic hero, we really shouldn’t be able to derive that from analyzing different aspects of the story. Although the facts weigh in at Grendel’s favor as a hero, an overall view of the story shows that he had options and opportunities that allowed him to keep from dying and to keep from causing trouble.
Even though he becomes insane, Grendel never has the ability to come to the conclusion whether he is good or evil. Yet another fact is there was never an experience in which Grendel “screwed up” and truly learned something from it. One example of an opportunity that he had was when he almost killed the queen and didn’t and then continued to carry out his misdeeds. To say that Grendel was the hero of his own story without substantial information to reinforce himself, it is very hard to produce an argument in his favor; Therefore I disagree with the possibility that Grendel is a hero.