A Realistic Twist on an Ancient Myth Essay

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A thousand years ago peasants and kings alike were drawn to the epic and often-heroic tales told by bards. Much like the modern audiences of movies today, these often-fantasized tales captivated their listeners and gave a microscopic glimpse into the culture of the medieval period. Today, there is no doubt that 21st century America is a vast and very divergent world than that of the writers of early British literature. However, nearly a thousand years after the original stories were written, American culture is still greatly influenced by these early Anglo-Saxon stories of heroism. Contemporary adaptations of these films combine these stories with the thrill of the dramatic cinema and the modern ideal’s of western culture to tame the …show more content…
This ancient depiction of Grendel contrasts the contemporary version in the film. Gunnersson characterizes Grendel as human. In the clip it appears that Grendel is more of a “sasquatch,” a Neanderthal type of man who is completely uncivilized, than a monster (Gunnersson, 2005).
As Grendel enters Herot, he emits a sort of “war cry.” He seems to have prepared for the battle in the previous scene smearing his face with paint and beating his chest (Gunnersson, 2005) proposing that perhaps he planned the attack. This is very different from the medieval depiction of the monstrous Grendel. The ancient text does not give Grendel the credit of being a “warrior.” In the text, his attacks are based solely on jealousy and anger; he is motivated by a very primal urge to fight. Grendel attacks his victims like an animal and eats their remains (Heaney, 2008). However, in the film Grendel enters Herot with a war cry, in a way announcing to the men that he is there and ready to fight (Gunnersson, 2005). He immediately begins to engage Beowulf’s men in battle. He assails the men one by one beating them over the heads and even snapping their necks, appearing very skilled at hand to hand combat (Gunnersson, 2005).
During his conflict with Beowulf’s men, Grendel makes eye contact with a man and utters a word (Gunnersson, 2005). While the word is unclear and seems to be in a sort of “foreign language,” it is still language. The medieval version of Grendel never