Beowulf Vs Grendel Research Paper

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Everyone loves an antagonist they are able to dislike, but a character who can obtain the feeling of dislike and still gain pity and sympathy provide for great entertainment. In the epic Beowulf (Heaney), the writer portrays Grendel very different from his portrayal in the modern movie Beowulf and Grendel (Gunnarsson), which could be solely due to the large time difference and what the intended audiences would find entertaining. The cultural differences between these two time periods appear as a significant element in the film, reflected in the attitudes of particular characters--the protagonist and the antagonist. One particular system of beliefs revolves around a simplistic view that the Anglo-Saxons, the originators of the Beowulf poem,…show more content…
In the folkloric tale of Beowulf, no one tries to understand why Grendel was the way he is. In the film, Beowulf makes it his business to discover why Grendel seems to only dislike the Danes, he openly approaches Hrothgar in hopes of determining what is the situation. However, in the epic Grendel is portrayed as a savage demon who openly kills others and has an eerie background. He is said to be a descendant of Cain, an evil man who kills his brother, and Grendel’s mother is said to be the sea witch. (Heaney) The folk Grendel is shown as a tall, impossibly strong character. “Grendel was the name of this grim demon haunting the marches, marauding round the heath and the desolate fens; he had dwelt for a time in misery among the banished monsters, Cain’s clan, whom the Creator had outlawed and condemned as outcasts.”(Heaney, Beowulf. page 9) In the movie, however, he is depicted as a barbaric, neanderthal man, without common manners and his own language almost as if he has simply been cut off from normal humanity. In comparison, between the film and poem, the shift in how they depict the character, Grendel, is vastly different. In the motion picture, Grendel is more realistic as a character the audience could relate to, and feel some sort of emotional connection with him. At the time the epic was actually told, it was said by mouth with no writings to accompany it;…show more content…
Nevertheless, it is most noticeable in Beowulf, who eventually gains almost a feeling of respect for Grendel. In adding various facts about Grendel's life and adding an intriguing backstory; it gives nearly the whole story line a different theme and mood. In one scene, Towards the end of the film before Beowulf and his men depart on their return back to Geatland, Beowulf is shown making an altar like a pile of rocks in memory of Grendel and his life. When reading the epic Grendel is described as being inhuman and a creature without morals who kills for fun. At the beginning of the film, we are made to have some pity, however, we then are in disgust because of his brutal killing antics. Then the director includes sympathy inducing moments to slowly build up the viewers feelings towards this hidden life story of Grendel. It is revealed that Grendel has a child with the witch, who he protects from the men who could do her harm in any way, the

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