Beowulf Movie Poem Essay

Beowulf: the Film vs. the Text

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Throughout time, many stories have been altered to suit a particular time period. Often times a film’s adaptation is much different than text adaptations while the two can also be very similar. Over the span of hundreds of years there have been multiple interpretations of Beowulf detailing the similarities and differences between the 2007 film and the various text versions. The portrayal of both King Hrothgar’s and Grendel’s appearance and personalities are different in the film than in the text.

In the motion picture version, he was portrayed as being an unstable alcoholic. This quote from the film demonstrates this, “I want mead! Give me some mead, my queen” (Beowulf: Top Ten Quotes)! In the film King Hrothgar is also portrayed as being a disgrace to his wife, in the written version on the other hand he was portrayed as a noble and mighty king who was adored by all his loyal subjects. ‘They said that of all the kings upon the earth he was the man most gracious and fair-minded, kindest to his people and keenest to win fame” (Beowulf: Top Ten Quotes).

In the movie, there was mention of an affair that King Hrothgar had. This quote from the film exposes the queen’s pain as she discovers the affair, “How could I ever lay with you, knowing you laid with her” (Beowulf: Top Ten Quotes)? In the text edition there is no evidence of any affair. In the picture Grendel had a very apathetic appearance. In the written material he was personified as an enormous monster thatis feared by ? Hamilton 2 all of Herot. This quote demonstrates his tormenting of the people by Grendel. There have been many great men who have come, but in the morning there was nothing left but blood on the floor, and the ventures, and the walls” (Memorable Quotes for Beowulf (2007)). In the film Grendel had the ability to speak and he was sensitive to light and sound. The way details and events were explained was different in one of the two versions. In the film for example, King Hrothgar commits suicide, there is no evidence in the text supporting this.

The film implies that Beowulf takes interest in the queen, while in the text there is no evidence of any romantic interest among them. This line from the film shows Beowulf’s interest, “Me It’s not me he wants, my queen” (Memorable Quotes for Beowulf (2007))? The film states that Beowulf not only had an affair with Grendel’s Mother but also had a child with her. In the movie Beowulf marries the queen after Hrothgar’s death and eventually cheats on her similar to how Hrothgar did.

The text details a tower that was dedicated to Beowulf after his demise; however the film eludes any mention of a tower. Wiglaf was crowned king before Beowulf’s demise in the movie but the text insinuates that the crowning occurred after his death. The battles were illustrated differently in both variations. For instance “The Battle with Grendel’s Mother” never transpired; instead she had a child with Beowulf. In “The Battle with Grendel”, the film insinuates that the men were awake when Grendel attacked and he also attacked numerous men.

In the text on the hand, the men were asleep when he attacked and he only attacked Wiglaf. In “The Battle with The Dragon” viewers learned that he was actually Beowulf’s son. Throughout time there have been multiple analyses of Beowulf detailing the similarities and differences between the 2007 film and the various text translations. There are a wide range of differences in the film versus the text. These differences range from something as little as the appearances of main characters to the depiction of major events and details.

Author: Allan Leider

in Beowulf

Beowulf: the Film vs. the Text

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I'm new here thought I'd give this a try. I usually meet with my professor and he proofreads my essays before I turn them in. Haven't met with him yet for this paper but thought I'd try two opinions.

Here's my prompt.

650-800 words

"In what important aspect does the treatment of a particular theme or idea differ between the book and the film? Can you explain the difference?" He want's us to use a structure such as this one--- 1. Introduce the text. 2. Set the context for a particular scene or passage that is important to analysis, quote or summarize, then discuss. 3. Compose a very brief conclusion that summarizes your interpretation.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
P.S.-- If anyone is good with the current MLA can someone tell me how to cite the poem because both my sources on my works cited have the same title. I thought someone told me to go to the author as the next option. Check it out and if I'm wrong let me know!


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Tyler Connell
Professor Germic
English 119
November 7, 2012
Many of the classic original texts have been transformed into films in the past decade. Many of these films can start a polemical debate. Beowulf was a transcribed poem written in present form about 1000 AD. Beowulf is an Anglo-Saxon traditional poem that shows heroism. Beowulf was a monster killer who travelled to help out the king of Danes, Hrothgar, by fighting a monster named Grendel and his mother. In the original poem Beowulf is displayed as a true hero to the Geats and Danes. The film displays Beowulf's heroism as a problem rather than a solution. Although the film follows the same storyline as the poem, they have different themes for courage.

One of the biggest differences found between the film and original poem is the theme of Beowulf's courage. In the film, they display Beowulf's enemy, Grendel, as an innocent, depressed creature. Grendel was an childlike monster who couldn't take the happiness and noise coming from Heorot. Grendel went to Heorot to start fighting and killing the Danes. Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, ran out of options so he tried to bribe Grendel to leave, which he rejected without any acknowledgment of all the loved ones he was killing: "he saw no need to salute the throne, he scorned the treasures; he did not know their love" (R. M. Liuzza 168-169). After Beowulf finally arrives to help out Hrothgar, we get to see Beowulf's true courage. This is displayed in both the film and original text. Beowulf decided to fight Grendel with no weapons to

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keep the fight fair between the two: "this evil beast in his wildness does not care for weapons, so I too will scorn" (R. M. Liuzza 433-435). Beowulf has a lot of faith in himself to fight Grendel armour less and weapon less. This is when the viewers and readers see the first sign of courage Beowulf has.

After Beowulf defeats Grendel is when we see the main change in the theme the film gives it's viewers compared to the poem. The film gives the viewer a misunderstanding of Grendel's sinfulness. The film shows Grendel as an innocent, naive, injured monster after the fight with Beowulf. This gives the viewer the thought that the real monsters in the film are those who seek to kill Grendel. The blame for Grendel's violence could be put in Beowulf's men's hands because they brought it upon themselves by being careless. After the killing of Grendel, Beowulf meets with Grendel's mother to defeat her and all the violence Heorot has taken. The film displays Grendel's mother as an attractive female which is when Beowulf's true flaws become apparent to everyone. Grendel's mother tells Beowulf in the film that she knows he is just as much of a monster as her son was. Beowulf never killed Grendel's mother when he left her cave in the film. Instead, Beowulf gave Grendel's mother a gold piece she asked for and she would no longer attack their kingdom. In the film we can see Beowulf fall under her attractiveness and he ends up negotiating with her. After this part of the film, it leaves the viewers questioning the courage and overall opinion of Beowulf. In the poem Beowulf doesn't ever hesitate to kill Grendel's mother. The film Beowulf gives a totally new idea of the type of leader Beowulf really is.

Years pass before Beowulf's new kingdom gets hit with turmoil again. The film took a totally different approach with the ending of Beowulf than the classic text.

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Beowulf must fight a dragon that has come back to destroy Heorot because of the missing gold piece. The film suggests that this dragon is Grendel's mother, who wants a new intimate relationship with Beowulf. Beowulf and Grendel's mother, the Dragon, end up both dead in the poem and film. Beowulf and Grendel's mother end up dead together at the end of the film. Although Beowulf ended the chaos in his kingdom he died as a fake hero to all the Danes and Geats. The theme the film ends with shows a major difference between the original poem. Beowulf only showed heroic actions in the film and no heroic trust or honesty with everyone in his kingdom.

The film displays Beowulf's heroism as a problem rather than a solution. The film does follow the same storyline as the poem but they have different themes for courage. The film shows Beowulf as a dishonest leader and gives many viewers the impression that he isn't a true hero to his kingdom but actually the problem. While both the film and poem have a very similar storyline, the small acts Beowulf portrays gives the film and poem two totally different themes.

Works Cited
Beowulf. Dir. Robert Zemeckis. Paramount, 2007. Film.
Beowulf. Trans. R M. Liuzza. Toronto: Broadview, 2000. Print.

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