1 Answer | Add Yours
The word “conflict” is a little askew here, because Heorot is a meeting hall, not a combatant. But whether the anonymous author was working on this level of abstraction on not, modern interpretations take into account the conflict between natural order and man-made order—in other words, man’s intrusion on nature. If we see Heorot’s inhabitants as intruders on Grendel’s “environment”, we might take Grendel’s side: once free to roam the land in search of prey, Grendel is now restricted by human activity in the hunting ground around his and his mother’s home pool; his natural instincts are to combat those intruders. Think of a hunting lodge built in the middle of a forest; surely the grizzly bears would have the instinct (and the right) to attack the intruders. The Christian/pagan conflict (or, as Levi-Strauss would say, the raw and the cooked) is ubiquitous, in life and in literature, especially in early narratives of human expansion, conquest, and colonization.
We’ve answered 317,419 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question