Many different works of literature are later remade into a visual piece. The visual versions, however, do not usually tell the story the same as exact as their written counterparts. In the case of the epic poem, Beowulf, this is also true. There are many similarities between the movie and the poem, and there are also many differences.
In the opening seconds of the film you are already able to see differences from the poem. The poem begins with Grendel, who is a demon of pure evil which has spawned from hell, attacking Danes in the mead hall, killing all of them. This scene does happen in the movie but for different reasons. The film opens with a scene of the Danes hunting down Grendel’s father and also Grendel when he was a child. Grendel’s father was killed by the Danes, over a fish he had stolen from them. In the movie, Grendel is not a demon from hell, the Danes refer to him as a “troll,” and he is also said to be the Grinder of Teeth, meaning he has bad dreams.
The next major difference is shown, when Beowulf challenges Grendel to fair combat. In the epic, Grendel willingly fights Beowulf, where Beowulf obviously defeats him. However, in the movie, Grendel is not as bloodthirsty as expected; he is unwilling to fight Beowulf because Beowulf is a Geat and not a Dane. A quote from the movie explains this: “why should he fight you? You’ve done nothing to him.” Grendel has no qualms against the Geats so he has no qualms against Beowulf.
The film then shows the Danes going to Grendel’s cave in hopes to find him and defeating him; this scene never occurs in the epic. While in the cave, one of the Danes crushes one of Grendel’s skulls which he left in his cave. Later, Grendel violently shows up to the mead hall looking for the man who has crushed one of his skulls. During this scene, Grendel ends up becoming tied from the rafters by his wrist, he cuts off his own arm to escape. He runs away, and is later taken to his cave by his mother where he dies. In the epic, Beowulf simply rips off Grendel’s arm with his bare hands, and then hangs it from the rafters as proof of Grendel’s defeat/death. In the film he attacks the Danes...