In chapter nine of Grendel, what ironies occur?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Grendel is the 1971 novel by American writer John Gardner. It is a retelling of the famous epic poem Beowulf from the perspective of the antagonist, Grendel. This novel presents the titular character as an antihero and explores the nature of good and evil in an existential manner.

There is dramatic irony in chapter 9. Dramatic irony occurs when the reader has more information than some of the characters, which changes the meaning of interactions. Grendel has a habit of attacking and killing priests and those associated with religion. The reader also knows that Grendel intends to kill the priest Ork. When Grendel asks Ork about the nature of religion, the meaning is different for Ork and the reader as the reader expects an imminent attack from Grendel.

There is another piece of irony in chapter 9 when Grendel admits:

Something is coming, strange as spring.
I am afraid.
Standing on an open hill, I imagine muffled footsteps overhead.

The reader understands this “something” to be Beowulf, the hero...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 850 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on