Grendel's Mother In Beowulf Analysis

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Analyse the ways in Grendel’s Mother in Beowulf has been adapted in Robert Zemeckis’ film adaptation

Beowulf was created in the oral-formulaic tradition and was developed in this style over a period of time with roots in folk-tales and traditional stories until it was eventually written down. The written poem is considered to be the longest and greatest surviving piece of Anglo-Saxon poetry available and many adaptations have been created from this original source. In 2007, Robert Zemeckis adapted the poem into a film production which received harsh criticism as it ‘stripped much of the original poem’s language, its cadences, deep history and context’. The screenplay was written by Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary, and reflects their own dark and satirical visions which stray from the epic’s original plot line significantly. The film has been described as limiting in its depictions of the characters; primarily Grendel’s mother, played by Angelina Jolie, whose sexual representation dominates her role in the story. This created a notable disparity between the original text and the contemporary film as
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However, in the film she uses her words and her femininity to corrupt Beowulf and in the process she merges with the other female characters. The decision to do this means she is humanised and sexualised in the interest of adding psychological depth to her character and also to emphasise her feminine power. This is seen to make her more believable to a modern audience and therefore makes the film more profitably commercial. Bill Schipper comments on this aspect by claiming 'nothing terrifies a male audience more than a physically and sexually powerful woman' which Zemeckis capitalises on by using Grendel’s mother. Her monstrosity is convincing despite this overt sexualisation as William Brown states by
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