What are some major differences between John Gardner's novel Grendel and the epic Beowulf?

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The most striking and immediately obvious difference between the two works is the point of view. Similar to Milton's Paradise Lost, which tells the story of creation from the point of view of Satan as opposed to the biblical God, Grendel attempts to tell a portion of the legend of Beowulf from the point of view of its titular antagonist. Choosing to do this allows Gardner to present Grendel as a full-fledged and dynamic character, rather than just a force of evil existing solely to oppose the heroic Beowulf. Gardner chooses to name the novel after Grendel to build him up as an anti-hero and to hold a mirror to the original epic poem. This allows us to see Grendel on his own terms, and the circumstances which have led him to act as the monstrous antagonist to heroic Beowulf.

Like many works of this type, Grendel is filled with post-modernist philosophy, and Gardner himself has stated that he modeled his version of Grendel after French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. The sense of moral ambiguity and...

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