What is the relationship between Grendel and Hrothgar in Beowulf?



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literaturenerd's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #1)

The relationship between Hrothgar and Grendel, in Beowulf, is one of utter hatred. Hrothgar has built a mead hall, Heorot, to celebrate God and his power. Grendel, on the other hand, hates God. His anger stems from the fact that he is in exile given the sins of his ancestors.

Therefore, Grendel cannot come into the light (a symbol of God in the epic tale). That said, Grendel is a creature of the night and only comes out after the light of God has "set." Upon hearing the singing and praise of God, Grendel becomes infuriated and decides to take out his anger upon Hrothgar and his people.

Grendel enter into Heorot and murders many of the people. Hrothgar is so grief stricken that he closes the doors of Heorot. After the celebrating ends, Grendel does not come back.

It is not until Beowulf shows up at Heorot, after hearing of Hrothgar's "problem," that Grendel becomes a threat again. Beowulf orders the mead hall reopened. Hrothgar obliges and Grendel is killed that night.

Essentially, Hrothgar and Grendel are mortal enemies given Hrothgar worships God and Grendel hates God.

thetall's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #2)

Hrothgar is King of the Danes while Grendel is his tormentor and considered a monster from Cain’s lineage and cursed by God. After winning many battles Hrothgar decides to build a mead hall which he named Herot. He constructed this building to honor God and his people since they helped him throughout his many conquests. He held celebrations in Herot for his people until Grendel began to attack the mead-hall, killing everyone in sight. Grendel continued to kill Hrothgar’s warriors every night until the people abandoned the mead hall and this caused Hrothgar much sorrow. This situation continued for twelve years since no warrior could defeat Grendel and eventually the monster moved into the hall and stayed there every night. This went on until Beowulf, a famous warrior from the Geats, came to the aid of Hrothgar by fighting Grendel and mortally wounding the monster.


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