In John Garner's Grendel, why does Grendel insist his death is an accident?

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John Gardner gives Grendel a voice in his novel Grendel, and the reader learns what it's like to be Grendel from the creature himself. From the start of the novel, Grendel describes feeling slightly confused and disgusted by human behavior and humans in general; the thought of Beowulf, a human, as a being immortalized in literature for an undeserved victory is dismaying. With this context in mind, the reader can see why Grendel insists that his death is an accident, rather than a heroic feat of bravery and god-like combat ability. Such an argument minimizes Beowulf's achievement and makes a mockery of the entire epic poem that celebrates Beowulf's character and skill as a warrior. After all, only beings as confusing and difficult as humans would pass down through the centuries a story of a hero like Beowulf, whose most significant victory was actually an accidental one.

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John Garner's novel Grendel is a text which shows the other side of the Anglo-Saxon epic of Beowulf. In the epic tale, Grendel's point of view is never given (in Beowulf, the text is told by an uninvolved and removed narrator (third person)). Grendel is never given a voice. Garner's novel does just this--gives Grendel a voice. Therefore, the tale that Grendel tells is very different from the one which is meant to illuminate the epic hero. 

In Garner's text, Grendel does not believe that the fight between himself and Beowulf is a fair one. Instead, Grendel believes that Beowulf's victory over him is the sole result of an accident. Given all of the blood on the floor of Heorot, Grendel slips and Beowulf is able to take advantage of his misstep. Therefore, it is not that Beowulf is actually stronger than Grendel; instead, Grendel's loss to Beowulf was only a slip on his part. 

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