Society has come a long way since the Middle Ages culturally and intellectually and can be clearly viewed throughout English literature. With this change comes a more abstract and evolved way of thinking. With that said, there is a massive distinction between the concepts and characters of the original text of the selection and the 2005 film Beowulf and Grendel. These differences include how the creators of the selections from the two societies use certain aspects to attract the attention of the audiences during their respected times in history and how the characters are portrayed in each works. In the epic poem of Beowulf it is evident that the religion displayed throughout the text is Christianity due to the number of biblical allusions presented throughout the text. For instance, "Grendel was the name of this grim demon...he had dwelt for a time in misery among the banished monsters, Cain 's clan, whom the creator had outlawed and condemned as outcasts. For the killing of Abel the Eternal Lord had exacted a price: Cain got no good from committing that murder." (102-109) is an example of a biblical allusion that demonstrates the distinction between good and evil and describes that the character of Grendel is an evil creature. In addition to this, the poem explains that good and evil are completely separate descriptions of people, or in this case creatures, in this world. You can not be both good and evil. During this era, all evil things were to be destroyed. In the world
While many pagan influences appear in the poem, Christian overtones dominate. Many of the characters exhibit Christian characteristics. Beowulf has a Christ-like behavior in his good-heartedness and charity. Beowulf understands the plight of the Danes that are being oppressed by the evil monster Grendel just as Christ knew of the oppression of the Jewish people. Both set out on a venture to save their people. To free themselves from the monster, the Danes need a savior, and Beowulf, through his desire to disperse their suffering, comes to save them. When Beowulf battles Grendel, he exhibits a sense of fairness when he refuses to use a weapon. The idea throughout the poem of living right, of loyalty, and of being a good leader can all be seen as traits of Christ. Just as Beowulf exemplifies Christ, Grendel mirrors Satan. Beowulf and Grendel represent the Christian beliefs of good verse evil. Grendel is referred to as a descendant of Cain, whom Satan tricks into sinning and committing the first murder. He is the image of a man fallen from grace through sin. Like Satan who is jealous of the happiness and joy that Adam and Eve have in the Garden of Eden, Grendel is jealous of the happiness and joy in Heorot. Grendel, as with Satan, is an adversary of God and poses a great challenge to Beowulf. Grendel lives in an underworld as Satan lives in hell. Grendel is referred to in the poem as "the guardian of
The monsters in Beowulf have a religious meaning to them because it is at the start of early Christianity because of how some people at the time perceived them especially with Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon. Grendel was thought to be an example of true evil and sin because of how he kills people in the night and then steals from them “ Grendel went up to Herot… the monster’s thoughts were as quick as his greed or his claws: He slipped through the door and there in silence snatched up thirty men, smashed them, unknowing in their beds and ran out with their bodies, the blood dripping behind him , back to his lair, delighted with the night’s slaughter” ( Beowulf,119-125). I think this shows how evil Grendel really is because of how he had no care for them and did this out of his
The plot is where the book and the movie totally differ, they have almost nothing in common. A big plot twist in the movie is when Beowulf goes to kill Grendel’s mother; first of all he did not end up killing her and lies about it. Also in the movie, it shows that Grendel’s mother is just angry about Beowulf killing her son, so she makes him stay and give her a new son by making love to her. Another big plot twist is when Hrothgar kills himself and Beowulf does not return back to his kingdom, and becomes King of Dane Land. But in the book Hrothgar lives and stays king of his land and Wiglaf takes the throne after Beowulf dies; “Take what I leave, Wiglaf, lead my people, help them; my time is
The story of Beowulf is a heroic epic, chronicling the distinguished deeds of the great Geatish warrior, Beowulf, who travels across the seas to rid the Danes of the evil monster Grendel, who has been inflicting destruction and terrorizing the kingdom. Beowulf is glorified for his heroic deeds of ridding the land fiendish monsters and stopping the scourge of evil, while the monster, Grendel, is portrayed as a repugnant creature who deserves death for its evil actions. However, many have disagreed with such a simplistic and biased representation of Grendel and his role in the epic poem. John Gardner in his book, Grendel, sets out to change the reader’s perception of Grendel and his role in Beowulf by narrating the story through Grendel’s point of view. John Gardner transforms Grendel, once perceived as an evil fiend in Beowulf, into a lonely but intelligent outcast who is actually quite similar to humans, due to his intelligence capacity for rational thought and his real, and at times irrational emotions. Gardner portrays Grendel as a hurt individual and as a victim of oppression, ostracized from civilization. Although the two works revolve around the same basic plot,, the themes and characters in Beowulf and Grendel are often different and sometimes contradictory.
In the story of Beowulf you get a glimpse of many different themes throughout this epic. Those themes range from good and evil to those of death and glory. The story itself depicts a period in history when life was lead "blind" through the teachings of the book of the lord and his spoken words. At this same period in history traditional pagan religious practices and beliefs have slowly given way to the ideals and philosophy of Christianity. Many of the themes held within the pages of Beowulf stem from the proverbs and fables recited and practiced in the Old Testament, while concurrently adding pagan beliefs of monsters, demons, and multiple gods. The most striking of these biblical comparisons is viewed between Grendel
Within the poem Beowulf, the poet utilizes the Christian religion to symbolize the elements of good and evil and Heaven and Hell. Beowulf is the oldest known English epic poem. The manuscripts date back to about 1000 A.D., when two scribes wrote it down for posterity. The poem was handed down from the Anglo-Saxon period, and through the retelling of the poem, it changed a little each time. The poem creates an oral depiction of an epic hero who strived to fight against the forces of evil. There really was a “historical” Beowulf who helped the Geats and Danes fight off pirates, but he was neither King of the Geats nor Danish hero at any time. In fact, he was not considered a man of any
Christian symbolism in Beowulf within the poem Beowulf, the poet utilizes the Christian religion to symbolize the elements of good and evil and Heaven and Hell. Beowulf is the oldest known English epic poem. The manuscripts date back to about 1000 A.D., when two scribes wrote it down for posterity. The poem was handed down from the Anglo-Saxon period, and through the retelling of the poem, it changed a little each time. The poem creates an oral depiction of an epic hero who strived to fight against the forces of evil. There really was a “historical” Beowulf who helped the Geats and Danes fight off pirates, but he was neither King of the Geats nor Danish hero at any time. In fact, he was not considered a man of any extraordinary qualities,
Finally, Grendel the novel and Beowulf the epic poem are so similar yet so different. The stories both have different point of views and have different moods, but tell the same story. Also, the theme of nature vs. nurture is a common theme throughout the novel Grendel while good vs. evil is the theme of the epic poem Beowulf. Grendel’s
Although both books are written about similar topics, it is expression that separates the two. In the novel “Beowulf” by Seamus Heaney, and in the novel “Grendel” by John Gardner, both books explore what it means to recreate ancient english stories. By reading Beowulf or Grendel, one can distinguish the literary difference in each book when it comes to style of writing, format, and common elements in each book, therefore causing the reader to compare the overall purpose of each book.
In the epic poem Beowulf, the struggle between good and evil reveals its omnipresence in even the oldest of tales. The many allusions and symbols throughout the story relate to Christianity and other Pagan beliefs. By looking at them, it becomes apparent that the author of Beowulf believed that the constant war between good and evil is not only fought by the common man but also in the ranks of their highest esteemed rulers and warriors, and even in their dreaded nightmares where monsters lurk and wait for the death of man. Beowulf was written during the budding of Christianity in England, when it was newly forming. In the story there are obvious references to Christian rituals.
A merger of pagan and Christian beliefs that occurs in the poem, “Beowulf” is the representation of Grendel. Grendel’s ancestry and evil denote Christian beliefs. Grendel is a descendant of
The story digressed from talking about Grendel to talking about Cain and Abel. Once again, this digression served more than one purpose. “He had dwelt for a time in misery among the banished monsters, Cain’s clan”(104-106). Here we see that Grendel is a descendent of Cain. This biblical reference shows the importance of Christianity to the Anglo Saxon people. “The giants too who strove with God time and again until he gave them their reward”(113-114). They had a strong belief in a God and higher beings, as well, that the reason things happen is because God is sending a message. A theme throughout this digression is good vs. evil or Cain vs. Abel. This digressions theme is not just related to the digression, but to the overall story of Beowulf. Beowulf is the heroic warrior, and Grendel is the malevolent monster. This digression purpose was to show the importance of the Christianity culture and an overall theme of the epic
The story of Beowulf is full of religious references and symbolism, but is it truly a Christian story? According to the narrative, Beowulf is an instrument of God, an instrument of righteousness called by God to perform His will for the Danes. In stark contrast to his good, is the enemy, Grendel, the incarnation of pure evil. These two characters appear to represent the forces of good versus the forces of evil. It would be easy enough to leave the story that way, but it appears that Beowulf is written intentionally to make the main characters appear more important by adding Biblical references to the narrative. By creating characters of a Biblical stature, the story as a whole has an
While most of the poem depicts pagan customs, such as wergild,, there are three specific ways that Christianity is seen: the title character, Beowulf, is depicted as good while Grendel, who descended from Cain, is depicted at evil; there are conflicting ideas of fate and free will; and the lord is seen as an almightily, singular being.