What is the tone of the book Grendel versus the story Beowulf?

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slchanmo1885 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Grendel" is a parody of the medieval English poem, "Beowulf." It tells the story of Beowulf and Grendel from Grendel's point of view using first person narration. In "Grendel," the character of Grendel is somewhat comic, a monster that has an interest in poetry and is trying to rise above the typical idea of a "monster." In Chapter 7 and 8, Grendel tries to be a poet (failing miserably), finally succeeding in Chapter 12, as Beowulf fights him, to come up with some successful poetry. While the book covers similar themes such as heroes and villains, good and evil, morals, and art, he book is very different from the original "Beowulf," as the original was an epic poem told in a serious manner, praising Beowulf as a hero. "Grendel" is not as cut and dry, the character of Grendel questions existence and the meaning of life, and tries to fight against his role as a monster to embrace art and language.