Chapter 12 Notes from Grendel

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Grendel Chapter 12

Grendel bursts through the door of the meadhall. He cannot tell if the Geats are asleep or paralyzed with fear. Grendel is overjoyed and afraid at the same time. He eats a man hungrily, then grabs another. But the man is Beowulf, who has only pretended to be asleep. He has watched Grendel eat the other man, so that he knows how Grendel works. Beowulf looks at Grendel coldly, and Grendel feels that the hand on his arm has a stronger grip than he has ever felt before. Grendel screams, and tries to escape, but Beowulf holds him tightly. Grendel begins to hallucinate. He tries to clear his mind, and decides that Beowulf is just a man, who can be easily defeated. He carefully plans his next move: he kicks viciously. But somehow it doesn't work--he is falling--and he realizes that he has slipped on blood. Then Beowulf starts to whisper. At first Grendel doesn't listen, but then he can't help himself. Beowulf whispers that Grendel is doomed. "Time is the mind, the hand that makes (fingers on harpstrings, hero-swords, the acts, the eyes of queens.) By that I kill you." Chapter 12, pg. 170 Grendel cries for his mother, telling Beowulf that if he beats him, it will only be because he accidentally fell down. Beowulf seems to be arguing against Grendel's philosophy: he says that Grendel creates the world by being in it. As a kind of proof, he bashes Grendel's head against a wall to make him understand that the wall is hard. Grendel cries, "If you think I created that wall that cracked my head, you're a fucking lunatic." Chapter 12, pg. 171 Beowulf ignores him. He forces Grendel to sing about the wall, and Grendel surprises him with his poetic skill. Grendel's mind races, making excuses for his losing ground. Beowulf tears off his arm, and Grendel realizes he is dying. He cries for his mother, and runs away. No one follows him. He grows weaker, still muttering that this all happened because of an accident. He stumbles closer to a cliff, unable to stop himself. The darkness below looks strangely familiar. He feels that he is going to throw himself into it, willingly and unwillingly at the same time. Animals he has tormented in the past gather to watch him die. He thinks, amazed, that he might feel joyful. He speaks to the animals who stare at him stupidly. "Poor Grendel's had an accident. So may you all." Chapter 12, pg. 174

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