what characteristics does grendel have that make him particularly terrifyng to the danes?

grendel is a bad monter

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Characteristics of Grendel

In the epic of Beowulf, Grendel is presented as a coward, a monster, and an insensitive character. According to the story, Grendel was referred to as "spawned in that slime,” a biblical allusion to the story of Cain and Abel. Grendel was born as a monster into exile; his life was cursed because he was a distant offspring of Cain. According to the Bible, all of Cain’s decedents were punished by God because of Cain’s sin. Despite Grendel’s evil motives, he is determined to be the best and overcome any obstacle that interferes in his way.

Grendel was big in size, and had the strength of many. But he was not brave at all; he is described as a large figure with the strength to pick up the weight of a grown man and consume him whole. But, Grendel is shown as somewhat of a coward because he only attacks at night when the guards of the mead hall are asleep. He attacks the mead hall under the cover of nightfall to avoid any type of physical abuse that would probably happen in the daytime. Grendel is afraid to fight, but becomes a problem that Beowulf needed to put an end to.

Grendel can be proved as a monster for multiple reasons. First and foremost, he lived with his mother in an open cave at the bottom of a boiling lake. Second, he was raised to be wicked, and never had the chance to become good. All Grendel knew was iniquity, and lived by what he was taught at a young age. Also, whenever Grendel would hear music, or the sounds of pleasure and joy, he would be filled with anger and hatred. Grendel seeks vengeance on good rather than evil mainly because of his family history.

In Beowulf, Grendel was portrayed as “insensible to pain and human sorrows, “or incompetent of any mental feeling. Grendel is unconscious and unaffected by the pain and suffering he causes others. Even though he is evil, he does not know how his actions affect other people. He was taught evil; therefore he does evil, making him evil. One can also sympathize for Grendel; if he feels no remorse, he has no opportunity for change.

As a result, Grendel was “grim and greedy, brutally cruel,” the “gruesome prowler of the border land, ranger of the moors, the fens, and the fastness.” Grendel’s character is portrayed in many different ways in Beowulf. All traits coincide with Grendel being a beast, and the offspring of Cain. It is the opinion of the reader to whether to agree or disagree with the characteristics that the author used to describe the nature of Grendel.


Grendel is presented as a monster, a demon, and a fiend. He was "spawned in that slime," a reference to the biblical story of Cain slaying his brother Abel, a horrible sin. Grendel is the incarnation of evil itself.

Grendel instills horrendous fear in the Danes, and with good reason. He haunts and moors and marshes and attacks the warriors while they sleep at Herot. Grendel is carnivorous; he feasts on human flesh and drinks human blood. He is incredibly strong, once smashing thirty men at one time before dragging them all back to his lair. Despite his size and strength, Grendel can also be quick, quiet and stealthy. He can sneak into Herot without being detected. Grendel hunts at night in the darkness. He has "swift hard claws," "powerful jaws," and "great teeth." Grendel also has magic powers. He has cast a spell so that the warriors' weapons cannot hurt him: "[T]he hardest iron could not scratch at his skin."

Grendel is filled with hatred and blood lust. He terrorizes Herot completely until Beowulf comes to help the Danes. The fact that Grendel is such a dangerous, horrible monster emphasizes the greatness of Beowulf when Beowulf destroys him.