Beowulf has delighted and intrigued a wide array of people for centuries. The timeless nature is visible in modern-day extensions of this epic, through heroics and battles of good versus malevolent forces. Beowulf continues to appeal to sophisticated audiences because it tells the story of a great hero prevailing over evil, a timeless theme valued by society and portrayed by his counterparts in modern media, although these new heroes display more complex qualities.
Beowulf, a hero, which is a savior figure. He stands up for a cause and belief against great odds. When Beowulf was composed, England was changing from a pagan to a Christian culture. Beowulf reflects both pagan and Christian traditions. In this essay, I will compare the 2007 British American 3D motion film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Neil Gaines And Roger Avary, and also the book version mentioning the personality of Beowulf, Grendel, Grendel’s mom and the battle with the dragon. In the movie and poem Beowulf’s personality is shown differently and expressed in a different form. In the movie and poem Beowulf there was many differences and similarities that were noticeable such as the portrayal of Grendel’s mother, Grendel being the son of Hrothgar, and Beowulf’s battle with the dragon.
Set in an era long before the customs of contemporary western civilization, Heaney’s translation of Beowulf follows the courageous hero through an epic journey that solidifies his figurative immortality. Much like the Greek’s great Odysseus or the Roman’s devout Aeneus, Beowulf serves as an impressive and almost godlike warrior for the Anglo-Saxons, providing insight into the constituents of greatness for that society. Confident in his abilities and committed to his task, Beowulf voluntarily embarks on a mission to defeat Grendel, the treacherous enemy of the Danish kingdom. Beowulf solidifies his classification as an epic hero as he satisfies his quest for glory, saves a kingdom from destruction, and reveals the values of an era.
The story of Beowulf is an ancient one, and one that has been passed down for generations. The ideals and themes are traditional and its message is clear throughout the entirety of the epic poem. Beowulf is told from the third person omniscient point of view, his conflict was always what one would call “the bad guy” or “the villain,” and though he died in the end, he won gold and victory for his kingdom; all bad guys defeated. John Gardner, author of Grendel, decided to take the classical story of good and evil, and tell a new story from the villain’s perspective. Grendel explores varying literary elements which exposes the character of Grendel to readers along with various themes represented throughout each page.
In the epic poem Beowulf, there is an obvious distinction between good and evil. The hero and his foes play roles that are commonly associated with Anglo-Saxon literature. The lines are clearly drawn and expressed in the poem. As the story moves, the reader cannot mistake the roles being played, based on the characterizations in the epic, one recognizes each character for their purpose and place.
“No better king had ever lived, no prince so mild, no man so open to his people, so deserving of praise.” This is an ultimate description of the heroic events of Beowulf, an old Anglo-Saxon poem about a warrior who battles and destroys three horrifying monsters. Although written long ago, the emotions expressed within this work, emotions of bravery, valor, and ethics still speak to us centuries later. The anonymous author of the poem convinces us through the masterful use of various literary elements that emphasize its meaning and message. Conflict, imagery and setting are three literary elements that contribute to the effectiveness of the poem.
The Old-English epic poem of Beowulf, officially written down somewhere around the year 1066 by the Beowulf poet, is one where you are persistently kept of the edge of your seat due to its superior use of vivid phrases and imagery. In the Anglo-Saxon period in which the story takes place bravery, heroic deeds, and loyalty to one another is paramount. Beowulf, a tenacious scandinavian warrior, is the savior of a neighboring kingdom due to his aptness to slay the treacherous monsters such as the nefarious Grendel and his mother. A truly remarkable feat is how the words and actions of this poem are put to life in the movie. Though remarkable, the cinema didn’t exactly correlate with the poem. In fact the integrity of the poem almost seems diminished
In Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf, Grendel is nothing but an evil fiend that needs to be slain, “a fiend out of hell, began to work his evil in the world” (Heaney 9). Grendel is portrayed as an evil monster that has only been wreaking havoc and terrorizing a kingdom for an extended amount of time because it thrives on the pain of others. Seamus states, “Malignant by nature, he never showed remorse” (Heaney 10). Grendel is made out to appear as little more than a monster, “insensible to pain and human sorrow” (Heaney 11). He is portrayed to have little to no human qualities, to be the furthest thing from
Beowulf and Grendel are two different stories, and characters, who look at the same situation in polarized ways. Each character has their own story that is written from different time periods: the Anglo-Saxon time period and America in the 1970’s. Both of these time periods have different attributes that make them special; the Anglo-Saxon time period consists of the literary movement of the epic poem and America in the 1970’s consists of the literary movement known as postmodernism. Beowulf is shaped by the Anglo-Saxon time period through its use of the heroic code and religious influences and Grendel is shaped by the American 1970’s time period through its use of metafiction and an unreliable narrator.
John Gardner offers an alternate interpretation of the old english epic “Beowulf” by narrating the experiences of the monster Grendel, after whom the book is named. Grendel conveys himself as a homicidal, ravenous beast, only capable of destruction and chaos. Therefore, one can conclude that Grendel is indeed evil, and that he well deserves the cessation of his existence. However, depending on the philosophical ideologies and the relative perspective one finds self in, they may conclude differently. Nevertheless, the reader may likely to find one’s self both sympathizing with, and scorning Grendel, because, as the 10th century old english monster says, “balance is everything”.
Beowulf, known as the oldest poem in the written English language, written with no known author, tells a fascinating story involving an epic hero of his time and a not so understood “monster.” The hero’s name is Beowulf, purposefully being the same title as the poem itself, he sets out on a journey from his home to the Danes from a terrible creature that’s harming innocent people. As any “hero” would. Beowulf wants to prove to himself and the people that he is, in fact, the strongest man on earth. Although Beowulf is a fine piece of writing on its own, it fails to tell all of the story, just like any other one-sided story does. But, thanks to the novel, Grendel, written by John Gardner, we get to peek inside the villain’s life for a change, which ultimately very well may change the reader’s view of the story completely.
Grendel, because of his lineage from Cain, was exiled from the human world. This causes Grendel to not be able to fully think through his actions. He kills the Danes and fights Beowulf because of the deep emotion of loneliness that overcomes him. If the reader looks only at Grendel as a monster or demon, he will be considered evil and therefore Beowulf is honored as a great hero. By seeing Grendel more humanely the reader can see him more as a human rather than a monster. The circumstances that Grendel has grown up in has caused him to act out with evil tendencies. “I tried to tell her all that had happened, all that I’d come to understand: the meaningless objectness of the world, the universal bruteness. She only stared, troubled at my noise. She’d forgotten all language long ago, or maybe had never known any.” (Gardner 28) This quote shows how little communication Grendel had with anyone in the outside world. He was not able to express any of his thoughts due to the fact that his mother was incompetent and did not speak. “Why can’t I have someone to talk to? I said. The stars said nothing, but I pretended to ignore the rudeness.” (Gardner 53) Those who believe Grendel is evil do not acknowledge the whole reason that there is a hateful relationship between Grendel and the Humans. The failure to communicate lead to confusion and fear which lead to the attacks made by Grendel or the humans. If Grendel was not as isolated in his
Both the epic poem Beowulf and the novel Grendel depict the same storyline, but from different point of views. Grendel’s personality tends to be much more evil than he himself depicts in the novel. Since Grendel is the narrator of the novel, the audience only gets to know what the story is like from his point of view, which he stretches the truth on numerous occasions. But, in Beowulf, the poem has a narrator and is in the third person omniscient, this means the audience knows how all the characters and feeling, thinking, or saying. Also, the theme nature vs. nurture appears a lot in Grendel which means his viewpoints on certain things are either
It may be that at one point Grendel was a human much like Beowulf. "Yet, so as to save his life, he left behind his hand, his arm and shoulder" (957-959). He has the appearance of a man and he has a mother, but the humanness of Grendel has disappeared, and what remains is a creature that as the text says, "the Creator had condemned." Instead of saying that Grendel was just a real bad guy, through these descriptions, he has taken on a supernatural or mystical quality. God was even concerned enough to curse Grendel for his atrocities.
The epic tale of Beowulf was written sometime after his death. In other words, a long time ago during the Anglo-Saxon period. Today, directors in Hollywood did not keep from creating their own rendition of this epic poem As a result, plenty of modern interpretations of Beowulf, such as Sturla Gunnarsson’s Beowulf and Grendel, have been released. Naturally, the cultural values that might be reflected in modern Beowulf renditions will demonstrate a clash with those of the original fifth century Beowulf literature. One reason for this is that in the modern age we value characters with profound characteristics, characters that change due to the challenges they experience; characters that we as the audience can attach to. Flat characters like those of the original Beowulf text are difficult to empathize with since they are not realistic enough for our standards. Due to these differences in culture and values, the Beowulf and Grendel from the original Beowulf text possess definite contrasts when compared with their Beowulf and Grendel counterparts.