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Beowulf: Epic Poem Versus Movie Essay

702 words - 3 pages

What is your favorite book? I could not tell you my absolute favorite book because I do not have just one, but one of my favorites is The Book Thief. Did your favorite book become a movie? The Book Thief was recently made into a movie. The movie was pretty good, but it could have been better. Most books are better than their movie counterparts. Some movies stay true to the storyline of the book, and some movies take the story off on a tangent. Grendel’s character in the movie remake Beowulf and Grendel has similarities and differences to the original character Grendel in the Anglo-Saxon, epic poem Beowulf.
Grendel in the movie and Grendel in the poem are alike in many ways. Grendel, in both the movie and the poem, has been terrorizing the people of Herot. “[He] snatched up thirty men, smashed them/ unknowing in their beds and ran out with their bodies, /The blood dripping behind him.” (Beowulf 37-39) Grendel enjoys and even delights in these acts of ...view middle of the document...

Other than his fear of God, Grendel is practically fearless. Grendel attacks the hall of Herot , in the book and the movie, in the dead of night without a second thought as to what might be inside the hall except for fresh flesh.
There are also differences between Grendel in the poem and Grendel in the movie.Grendel is more independent in the movie than in the poem. In the movie, Grendel does not live with his mother. Instead, he lives alone in a cave, and he finds a human lover with whom he has a child. Grendel lives with his mother and has no relations with any human in the epic. Grendel has a father initially in the movie. In the epic poem, Grendel has no known father.
Grendel is a more human character in the movie, not a monster like the epic makes him out to be. Grendel seems to have human emotions like anger, love, and a respect for innocent life. For example, Grendel cared for his father. After Hrothgar killed Grendel’s father, Grendel is angry and wants to avenge the death of his father by hurting Hrothgar and his people in the movie. Grendel will not attack Beowulf and his party because they have done nothing to Grendel. In the poem, Grendel attacks Beowulf and his men because he can. Grendel is also made to seem more human in the movie by his ability to “talk” with Beowulf. Although Grendel’s speech is basically grunting, Selma, the witch woman, is able to recognize and translate Grendel’s communications into understandable thoughts. In the poem, Grendel has no conversation with Beowulf or anyone that we know of.
Grendel in the epic poem and Grendel in the movie have similar and different characteristics. The writers of the movie stuck to the main story line of the epic, but they changed Grendel’s character somewhat to make the movie more interesting. In the movie, Grendel is an independent, emotional troll. In the epic, Grendel is just a flesh-eating monster. One of my favorite books, The Book Thief, was recently made into a motion picture, but the movie just did not meet the expectations because of the change in character qualities.

Works Cited

Beowulf. Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes. Trans. Burton Raffel. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005. 39-60. Print.

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