Grendel is so enraged in Beowulf because he represents the pinnacle of wickedness. Depending on whose version of Beowulf you read, Grendel's anger with Hrothgar's men's singing is usually mentioned around the opening of the epic poem, before Beowulf comes and Grendel murders Hrothgar's men. This shows that his rage is not just based on some ordinary crime; rather, he is outraged by their behavior.
In addition, Grendel is miserable throughout most of the poem. He complains about his loneliness often, especially when speaking to Beowulf. When asked about his past by Beowulf, Grendel says that he was "alone, and hated life". He also tells Beowulf that he will kill him too if he ever enters his cave.
This shows that Grendel is unhappy with his life. He wants to die, which implies that he has felt this way for a long time. Perhaps Hrothgar's men have been keeping him alive only because they needed his strength to fight off Geats but eventually they would have killed him too once they found another way to deal with his attacks.
Or perhaps Grendel has been imprisoned since he was a child. We never find out but this is another possibility that could explain his misery.
I spent a lot of time studying Beowulf and other Anglo-Saxon poetry. Grendel is most likely a special form of evil; the evil of unbridled anger in a warrior. Grendel is enraged just by Heorot's joy and singing, so he goes about killing and eating the king's thegns night after night. There was also a poem called "The Dream of the Rood" that may have been inspired by Grendel. In this dream poem, the poet imagines Christ on the cross with Satan standing next to him. Grendel is mentioned by name in this poem.
In modern culture, Grendel has been used as an archetype for evil creatures:
Grendel has been used as an example of pure evil many times in movies and literature. The most famous example is in Peter Jackson's 2001 film adaptation of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Here, Grendel is played by John Malkovich. In one scene, Grendel attacks the village of Geer, where most of the movie takes place. When they try to burn him in a fire, he bursts into flames but does not die. Instead, he escapes into the wild world outside of civilization.
Another example is from the 2009 film Avatar. Here, Grendel is a species of monster that lives in the deep waters near Pandora. They are an aggressive species that will kill anyone who gets too close.
Hover to find out more. We discover in the epic poem that Grendel is a descendant of Cain, and the author uses this connection to Cain to underline how nasty Grendel is. Also, according to Beowulf, dragons were once men who had fallen from grace. Thus, Grendel is also a dragon, and as such, he is doomed to fight forever until destroyed by a brave hero like Beowulf.
Grendel's mother, the dragon Smialen, bore him in her cave on an island in a lake. She hid him from his father, the king Geatred, because she knew he would be killed by him if he found out that she had given birth to another child. When Grendel was grown up, he became a monster who haunted the forest where King Geatred lived with his people. The king's warriors tried to kill Grendel, but none could succeed until Beowulf came along.
Beowulf was a mighty prince who lived in Denmark. During a campaign against a neighboring kingdom, he heard about Grendel's murder of prisoners in the forest. Curious to see what kind of creature would do such a thing, he went into the forest to confront Grendel. After many battles between them, Beowulf finally managed to defeat Grendel and kill it.
Grendel appears in the Nowell Codex as a character in the poem Beowulf. Grendel, cursed as the Biblical Cain's descendent, is "harrowed" by the sounds of singing that arrive every night from King Hrothgar's mead-hall of Heorot. The poem describes how a group of warriors go to kill Grendel, but he kills two of them before being killed himself.
In modern interpretations, this poem is often used as evidence for the existence of dragons. However, the original author of the poem did not believe in dragons; instead, he believed that Grendel was a monster created by the Norse god Loki in response to Hrothgar blessing Beowulf with heroism.
However, some scholars have suggested that Grendel may be a dragon, specifically a griffin, due to similarities between the poems characters and actions. If this interpretation is correct, it would mean that Hrothgar was a real person who lived at the time of the poem.
Griffins were mythical creatures made up by poets and artists throughout history; they usually had the body of a lion or eagle with the head of a goat. Although they were sometimes said to be the offspring of dragons and humans, no actual examples of this phenomenon have ever been found. It has even been suggested that the word "griffin" comes from the Greek word for "dragon" (gryphon).
He can't take it any longer and assaults Heorot. When the people there refuse to give up their singing, Grendel attacks them all, killing many including King Hrothgar. After this incident, no one dares to go to Heorot anymore.
In modern interpretations, this story is often used as an example of evil coming from someone who should have been good, or sinning against nature. This interpretation comes from the idea that since Cain was banished from Eden, he must have done something wrong to deserve this punishment.
However, this interpretation is not supported by all scholars. Some believe that because biblical authors wrote using ancient traditions and languages, they could have been ignorant of any specific rules when writing about such topics. Thus, they could have been simply telling stories similar to those found in other cultures throughout history. In addition, others point out that Grendel does not attack anyone except Heorot, so he must have had a reason for doing so. This implies that he was not trying to live like Cain did, but rather that he was suffering too.
According to the narrator of Beowulf, Grendel's motive is hearing Hrothgar's bard perform songs about God's creation of the universe, which irritates his evil nature. Whatever the cause, Grendel slaughters more Danes every night and feasts on their bodies after ripping them limb from limb. He is not without teeth, since according to the poem he has "teeth as a lion's", but they are "sharp as a shark's".
His diet consists mainly of humans but he also eats horses, dogs, and even dragons if they get in his way.
In conclusion, Grendel ate whatever he wanted and no one could stop him.