Grendel: The Outcast

Grendel: The Outcast
by Lillian Bonar
Essay: Grendel: The Outcast
Pages: 11
Rating: 3 stars
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• Grendel: The Outcast.pdf
• Grendel: The Outcast.doc
Archetypes refer to the persistently recurring symbols or motifs in literature. The term itself has its origins in
ancient Greek and continues to play a prominent role in analyzing literature. Archetypal images and story patterns
encourage readers to participate ritualistically in basic beliefs, fears, and anxieties of their age. These archetypal
features not only constitute the eloquence of the text but also tap into a level of desires and concerns of
civilization. The Anglo-Saxon poem, Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, integrates many of the common
archetypes that still exist today. The outcast archetype is one that particularly expressed the desires, anxieties and
values of the people who lived during the Beowulf era. Grendel, a character of monstrous appearance and hazily
human emotion, is portrayed as the principal outsider in Beowulf. The incorporation of a banished character
against his fellow society effectively expressed the anxiety and fears that the Anglo-Saxon culture felt towards
seclusion and abnormality, caused by a societal absorption in family lineage and traditionalism.
The outcast archetype describes a figure or character that is rejected by a group. There is often a high level of
anxiety linked with this idea, as there is a great deal more vulnerability living outside the group than there is in
being an integral part of it. Grendel and his mother are elucidated as outcasts from the very beginning, being
descendants from Cain. “Grendel was the name of this grim demon haunting the marches, marauding round the
heath and the desolate fens, he had dwelt for a time in misery among the banished monsters, Cain's clan, whom
the creator had outlawed and condemned as outcasts. For the killing of Abel the Eternal Lo...