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Beowulf: Movie or Poem? Essay

Before watching the Beowulf movie, I had the opportunity to read the poem along with ghthe class. I thought the movie was going to be a slight different from the epic poem, but that it was still going to stick to the message that the poem had given us. As we started to watch the movie, I noticed that I as completely wrong because the movie is almost completely different from the epic poem. The movie kept very few elements from the original epic poem.

In the poem, Grendel attacks Heorot because he is a descendent of Cain that has been exiled into darkness. The movie let us know that Grendel was the son of Hrothgar, the king. Grendel could not attack or go against God himself, so he took it against God’s followers. In the movie, Grendel attacked Heorot because he cannot stand music and singing. Noise really bothered his head and ears. In both the movie and poem, Beowulf fights Grendel without any kind of weapons or armor because Grendel isn’t using any of that either. Beowulf wants it to be a fair fight. Beowulf tears Grendel’s arm off and hangs it up; I think to symbolize the victory.

Another major difference to me, is that in the poem, Beowulf kills Grendel’s mother as soon as possible, while in the movie somehow Beowulf is seduced by her. Beowulf never kills Grendel’s mother. I think the movie producers took a really big leap in this part, it went completely different from the epic poem. Grendel’s mother is also described as a lizard-type of creature that was unappealing and unattractive. Completely opposite to the epic poem, Grendel’s mother was provocative and seductive in the movie, maybe this is the reason why Beowulf gives in to her. As a result of this matter, Beowulf becomes the father of a dragon. The epic poem never mentions about Beowulf becoming a father, he was always loyal and faithful to his wife.

Finally in the poem, Beowulf returns to his homeland, where he became old and became king. Beowulf had to fight the dragon along with his knights working as a team, but instead, the knights had given up and weren’t helping him at all. Wiglaf is the only person who reaches out and helps him fight the dragon. This signifies that the Anglo-Saxon Era was coming to an end. Despite all of this, Beowulf never gives up, he fights to the end.

In the movie, Beowulf never returns to his homeland, instead he becomes king of the Danes as a result of Hrothgar’s suicide. Beowulf ends up killing the dragon in both versions, but in the movie, Beowulf seemed to have lost the heroic, fearless, and courageous values. Beowulf just seemed like he had given up. Maybe it was culpability about all his lies that had finally got to him.

I enjoyed reading the poem much better than watching the movie. I think the movie- producers shouldn’t have taken so much out of the original poem. They made Beowulf seem like a completely different person. The original Beowulf poem portrayed many of the Anglo-Saxon values, while in the movie, it just seemed like they didn’t portray any of them at all. I wanted to see Beowulf just like they portrayed him in the poem. I wanted to see Beowulf being an honorable and heroic figure that never gave up on it’s people.

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