Annotated Bibliography Allison Jones

Fahraeus, Anna, and Dikmen Yakali Camoglu Villains and Villainy: Embodiments of Evil in Literature, Popular Culture and Media. Amsterdam, Rodopi, 2011.


This book explores the concept of villains. It talks about how the “good guy” cannot exist without evil. Villains and Villainy discusses “the representation of evil, its internal localized logic, its historical contingency, and its specific conditions.” The chapters it contains are “Examining Infamous Representations of Villainy,” “Villainy Victorious,” “Villains in the Community,” and “Exemplifying Exceptional Perspectives: Villainy as a Necessary End.”

Key Terms:


Throughout the entirety of the article, the term “villain” is used to describe the bad guy from many stories. Villains are the topic of the paper.


The article discusses the psychology behind what makes a villain. It uses a psychological approach to define villains and what makes up their character.


The term “evil” is often used to describe the villains of stories, but sometimes the characters are not trying to be evil. This paper talks about some of the struggle between good and evil. It also mentions how there is good in evil, as well as evil in good.


“The hero - who usually wins - cannot exist without an opponent in one form or other. The villain embodies this opposition and can present a fascinating complex of characteristics” (viii)
“Therefore, in its strong version a villain is a character, and that implies a degree of anthropomorphism. This is, by no means, a statement about the physical appearance of the villain. There are villains who do not actually inhabit anthropomorphic bodies, and there are some who do not inhabit a body at all.” (7)
“The eternal story of conflict between good and the evil needs to be retold to emphasize the good in the evil and the evil in the good.” (175)


The authors of this article conveys their credibility through their citations. All of the sources in the book are properly cited. Also, the authors start off each new section with an abstract, which makes the reading seem more credible. I will use this piece to examine how Grendel fits into the role of “Villain” and explore how without Grendel, Beowulf is not a hero.

“Grendel (Beowulf).” Villains Wiki, 21 Mar. 2011, Accessed 15 Feb. 2017.


This page summarizes where Grendel has been seen. It talks about the different films and the video game that Grendel has been a part of. It also gives an explanation of his character and gives a little bit of his background.

Key Terms:

Loud Noise-

Loud noises is what sets Grendel off. He has sensitive ears. The noise from the mead hall is what brings him to attack.


In some depictions, including the original epic, Grendel is simply an evil character.


In other depictions, Grendel is seen more as a misunderstood monster. He’s not attacking out of evil, but rather to stop his pain.


“Grendel is described as a 'fiend from Hell'...”
“When not attacking the Danes, he is shown as a timid and quiet creature that speaks in Olde English around his mother.”
“The reasons for his attacks are due to having hyper-sensitive hearing from an exposed eardrum, and the racket from the meadhall was causing him physical pain.”


Although this website is like a fan page, the authors of this article did a good job of gathering a lot of information about Grendel, and compiling it into one location. They also used some direct quotes. I will use this source to explore the different interpretations of Grendel.

Merrill, Robert. “John Gardner's Grendel and the Interpretation of Modern Fables.” American Literature, vol. 56, no. 2, May 1984, pp. 162–180., Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.


The author of this article discusses John Gardner’s book, Grendel. He looks at several critiques of the book. He then uses his knowledge to form his own opinion as to Gardner’s intended meaning when writing his book.

Key Terms:


The hero of Beowulf is usually Beowulf himself. However, in Gardner’s book, Grendel is the hero.


Grendel is a sympathetic character in the book, unlike in the epic.


Gardner wanted to make sure that the Christian ideologies were not lost in his interpretation of the story of Grendel.


“Robert Detweiler has written that ‘Grendel is a retelling of the Beowulf legend from the monster's point of view that depicts him as a relatively sympathetic character and Beowulf as a psychopath’ ” (163).
“Beowulf triumphs over Grendel only because the monster slips-a mere accident, as Grendel argues. The point is that the legendary Beowulf is for us an unbelievable, certainly an unsympathetic character. The true hero, as we suspected all along, is Grendel himself” (165).
“Grendel's war with Hrothgar follows, inspired by the monster's now firm conviction that human values are insubstantial myths designed to get us through the night” (167)


The author of the article shows his credibility by displaying his vast knowledge of information on Grendel. He uses direct quotes not only from the book, but also from the author. I will use this article in my research to give me another perspective on Grendel. This interpretation shows Grendel as the good guy, rather than the bad guy.

Roe, Ethan. “Grendel - Beowulf Movie 2007.”, 16 Feb. 2013, Accessed 15 Feb. 2017.


This website gives an overview of Grendel’s character in the 2007 Beowulf. It discusses his history, powers, and character. The website gives a brief summary of Grendel’s role in the movie, as well.

Key Terms:


Grendel is was tormented by the sounds of the men singing. It’s what drove him to attack.


Grendel is one of the few monsters I know of that still has a mother. He loves her dearly and still lives with her.


In this depiction of Grendel, Hrothgar is his father. This is different from the original epic where he is a descendant of Cain.


“He is the embodiment of suffering by the torment of his disfigured body.”
“The singing caused the creature to tear at his own flesh for it to stop!”
“Grendel is a timid being and soft spoken who seeks the approval of his mother.”


At the end of the article, the authors gave Grendel stats for a game. To me, this shows that the author spent a lot of time studying Grendel, and considering his character. I will use this source to evaluate the character of Grendel from the movie.

Rogers, H L. “Beowulf's Three Great Fights.” The Review of English Studies, vol. 6, no. 24, Oct. 1955, pp. 339–355., Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.


The author of this article discusses what went into the making of the original epic, Beowulf. He talks about how the author changed the story to fit the Christian morals. Also,he gives a good description of Beowulf’s fights with the three monsters in the epic.

Key Terms:


A lot of the epic Beowulf was changed to fit Christian ideologies. This changed some of the story.


This word in used in this article to describe Beowulf’s strength. The author says that it is only ever attributed to Grendel, and not the other two monsters.


The author talks about the role of treasure in the poem. The treasure was a big part of the battle with the dragon.


“In other literature, treasure may perhaps bring no good to him who possesses it; in Beowulf the treasure is positively evil” (340).
“He trusted in God's help and in the strength (mægen) that God had given him. Grendel was God's adversary; Beowulf, His champion, was easily victorious” (341).
“The frequent descriptions of weapons and armour in this part of the poem provide further contrasts between Beowulf's mægen and the material things of the heroic world. All these warlike trappings, carefully enumerated in a way that seems ironical, are soon to fail against the monsters” (345).


Although this article is rather old, the author does a thorough job of examining Beowulf. He uses many sources to evaluate the meaning of many key figures in the epic. I will use this article to give me a better understanding of Grendel’s origin. It was also help me determine why Grendel’s character acted the way he did.

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