The Adaptation Of The Epic Of Beowulf

1657 WordsApr 10, 20177 Pages
The epic poem Beowulf is one of the oldest surviving literary pieces and therefore one of the most important works of Old English literature. John Gardner, in the form of the novel Grendel, created an adaptation based on one of the most well known epic poems. The adaptation is a successful one due to the fact that Gardner maintains the pivotal events from the plot that are present in the original Beowulf. The adaptation reincarnates the original through its use of the same characters present in both works. Grendel remains the antagonist in both of the literary works, as he wreaks havoc on Hrothgar’s mead-hall. The literary works end the same way, with Grendel dying and Beowulf remaining the epic hero for humanity. The differences in the…show more content…
Grendel is a monster killing the Danes in both the original and adaptation, but readers of Grendel see he is also a miserable creature through his narration. The character of Beowulf remains the same, as the qualities that make Beowulf a great leader are still clearly defined in the adaptation. Grendel is able to recognize Beowulf’s strength and leadership attributes. In Beowulf the Geat’s leader is “a thane…with the strength of thirty/in the grip of each hand” (Heaney 380-381). Beowulf proves his strength and leadership qualities in both of the works as he prepares to defeat Grendel. The fight scene between Beowulf and Grendel remains true in the two pieces of literature; Beowulf fakes sleep and engages the monster in hand-to-hand combat. Beowulf is able to tear Grendel’s arm off from the shoulder, ultimately killing him. Before battle the thane proclaims, “I hereby renounce/sword and the shelter of the broad shield,/the heavy war-board: hand-to-hand/is how it will be, a life and death/fight with the fiend” (Heaney 436-440). Beowulf’s incredible strength is what separates him from the other humans; it plays a large role in the making of the epic poem. Therefore the adaptation maintains Beowulf’s strength, remaining faithful to an important component of the original work. Aside from characters, another major component of an adaptation is the plot and whether it remains true the original work. The plot of Grendel derives from the original work,
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