S Clash With Grendel, And Seamus Heaney's Beowulf

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Passed down through various societies for multiple generations, the poem Beowulf is a true literary masterpiece. While first spread by word of mouth, the work was later transcribed, translated, and transformed into numerous forms of literature and media. Due to this, we know that their is not one true Beowulf. As Professor Martin Foys once said, “each generation gets the version of Beowulf it deserves”. These various adaptations led to differing tales of the conquests of Beowulf, as is the case with the first of the three agons, Beowulf’s clash with Grendel. Seamus Heaney’s new verse translation and Robert Zemecki’s movie adaptation portray this clash in differing ways, and the root cause of this is Grendel 's physical appearance. Heaney depicts Grendel as a monster far removed from humanity in order to portray a clash of good versus evil and depict Beowulf as a slayer of demons. Meanwhile, Zemecki portrays Grendel as a half breed shunned from society in order to portray a convoluted clash of a man defending himself against those who have harmed him. The first of the three Agons in the poem, Beowulf’s fight with Grendel, is a struggle between two goliaths. Heaney can be quoted describing Grendel as a monster of “Cain’s Clan” that hailed from the borders of the Dane’s land (Heaney 106). This identifies Grendel, the most ambiguous character in the various interpretations of the story, as a monster from the biblical lineage that spawned evil phantoms. The words “haunting the

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