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Grendel Chapters 7 and 8
Transcript of Grendel Chapters 7 and 8
Grendel deeply affected by Wealtheow; refuses to attack castle for numerous months
Hygmod visits Heorot and mild tensions arise between him, Wealtheow, and Hrothgar; Grendel's emotional attachment overcomes him
Grendel attacks and almost kills Wealtheow, but stops himself at the last moment Hrothgar's nephew Hrothulf is orphaned and comes to live at Heorot; his quietness makes Hrothgar suspicious
Hrothulf has two soliloquies, one about why divide exists between rich and poor, the other about the nut tree
Red Horse and Hrothulf converse in the woods about the evil nature of government
Hrothgar demonstrates paranoia during dinner
Grendel's explanation of why he still tortures Hrothgar: "I made him what he is. Have I not a right to test my own creation?" Literary elements Symbolism "My chest was full of pain, my eyes smarted, and I was afraid- O monstrous trick against reason- and I was afraid I was about to sob. I wanted to smash things, bring down the night with my howl of rage. But I Kept still. She was beautiful, innocent as dawn on winter hills." 100 Metaphor "The smell of the dragon lay around me like sulphurous smoke." 102
"Enough of that! A night for tearing heads offs, bathing, bathing in blood! Except, alas, he has killed his quota for the season. Care, take care of the gold-egg laying goose! There is no limit to desire but desire's needs." 93
The sound rolled away to darkness to die among the trees." 98
"They marched all night, then scatterred into the forest like wolves and slept all day without fires." 96 Personification Discussion Questions 1: What significance did Grendel's decision to not kill Wealtheow have on his character?
2: Do Hrothulf's soliloquies bear any relevance to political situations of today?
3: Do Hrothgar's suspicions during dinner have any significance regarding future events? "Far to the east of Hrothgar's hall there was a new hall a-building, its young king gaining fame." 94 Foreshadowing Earlier in the chapter, Grendel states the killing the queen would be the ultimate act of nihilism, which would give the action meaning. Killing the queen would mean that he has accepted the path of the dragon, by eliminating the one symbol for peace and love in the entire story. Wealtheow has the same effect on the Danes, and represents all of the same concepts, but Grendel does not see a point in killing her. Killing Wealtheow would have the same nihilistic approach as killing the queen. The fact the Grendel changes him mind shows that he is not quite ready to accept the dragon’s nihilism and is not ready to be, essentially, the dragon. “I changed my mind. It would be meaningless, killing her. As meaningless as letting her live. It would be, for me, mere pointless pleasure, an illusion of order for this one frail, foolish, flicker-flash in the long dull fall of eternity”(110) “I resolved, absolutely and finally, to kill myself, for love of the baby Grendel that used to be. But the next instant, for no particular reason, I changed my mind.
Balance is everything, sliding down slime” 110 Much like the previous quote, Grendel is not ready to accept his role. By killing himself, he would be eliminating a major source of pain and suffering of the Danes. Grendel is at a crossroad and must choose a path. By killing either himself or the queen or Wealtheow, he is forcing himself to make a decision that he wouldn’t be ready to make, so he puts off the decision until he is ready. In order to rationalize his actions, Grendel must feel as if there is a positive force pushing him to make said actions. He uses the Human’s lack of morals to justify killing them, and actually believes himself to be the hero of this story. “the incitement to violence depends upon total transvaluation of ordinary values. By a single stroke, the most criminal acts must be converted to heroic and meritorious deeds”(117) The major philosophy in this section revolves around Hrothulf’s actions. Hrothulf want the peasants to know that their king’s success depends on their work, yet they are still suffering. He compares this to the tree, and how plants die in its shadow. The philosophy is that everything must work together, that “balance is everything”, and that no single part of society can grow too big before the other parts begin to wither away. Major Philosophies Chapter 8 The primary philosophy in this chapter is chaos. Much like in the beginning of the story, nothing seems to have order anymore. Everything is just images upon images of chaotic events that only fall into the categories “Grendel” and “not Grendel”. This chapter shows that, while Grendel is making slow progress in his own story, the world that is “not Grendel” remains chaotic. Chapter 7 Quotations Relevance to Beowulf Chaos does not really bear much relevance to the Beowulf novel, because Beowulf does not share the nihilistic worldview that Grendel has. Beowulf believes that the world does indeed have order, and that he has a purpose in it. Balance holds a lot of relevance to the novel Beowulf, particularly towards the end. When Beowulf is an emperor and is expanding his kingdom, he becomes the enemy of many other clans nearby. When Beowulf dies in the fight with the dragon, his lands and tribesmen become vulnerable of takeover. This shows that when one entity grows too much, the disrupt of balance becomes very harmful. Relevance of Zodiac Signs Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Wealtheow = Libra: the balance Wealtheow serves as a balancing figure in the meadhall
The Libra zodiac emphasizes simplicity in life, as does Wealtheow Hrothulf = Scorpio: the Scorpion One of Scorpio's defining traits is his desire to triumph, and in Ch. 8 Hrothgar is afraid of Hrothulf triumphing over him later in life
Scorpio is very secretive, as is Hrothulf