Beowulf: Comparison of The Poem and Its Film Adaptation

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Words: 949 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Apr 29, 2022

Words: 949|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Apr 29, 2022

Beowulf is an epic hero who has supernatural power and defeated several monsters. when the king of the Danes asked him for help because his kingdom was under attack by a monster called Grendel he went with his bravest warriors and he fought him in Heorot. After that, he attacked Grendel’s mother in her lake. At the end of the story, he will become the king and unfortunately, he will have to fight a dragon to protect his people. It is a fantastic story so while I was watching the Beowulf film I noticed that there are several contrasts between the film and the textbook.

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One of the biggest differences between the film and the textbook is Grendel. In the textbook, Grendel is described as an evil or a monster who lived in the darkness. He attacked them in Heorot while they were sleeping to have the ability to kill as much as he can because he hates the sound of the music and the celebration. Whenever they celebrate he felt anger and has the desire to kill them. in the first attacks, he killed thirty warriors with one hand. The only thing he couldn’t touch was the throne because it was protected by god. On the other hand in the film it shows the contrast of that; for example, Grendel attacked Heorot while they were awake celebrating. He looks like a human and also he have hands not claws like in the textbook. Also, he couldn’t kill more than one man at the same time; moreover, He appears and disappears through a blue fire! and king Hrothgar wasn’t scared of him as the textbook mentioned vice versa he wanted Grendel to be brave and fight him but Grendel couldn’t and left.

The battle between Beowulf and Grendel in the textbook shows that when Beowulf heard about Grendel and the Danes suffering for twelve years or more from fear. He felt that his duty to go and help them with a small group of his bravest warriors. When they arrived he asked the king to let him fight Grendel alone and with bare hands because Grendel fights without using any weapons, then they stayed that night at the mead hall waiting for Grendel but they slept except Beowulf he was pretending he is sleep. When Grendel came at night to kill them, as usual, he attacked Beowulf’s friend, and while he was trying to kill another one Beowulf faced him with his supernatural strength and cuts off his arm which made Grendel want to seek and go back to his moor bleeds to death. On the other hand in the film, it shows very differently. For example, Beowulf faced Grendel with help from his warriors, especially Wiglaf. He Tried to stab Grendel many times while in the textbook he wasn’t born yet. Also, in the film Beowulf wrapped him with an iron series around his arm and he was trying to pull his arm with help from Wiglaf and Grendel was scared and trying really hard to flee but his arm was stuck, so when Beowulf is about to close the door on his arm he said some words show that Grendel should be scared of him and then Grendel spoke while in the textbook he just ran to his moor. 

The battle between Beowulf and the dragon in the textbook is different because it shows that after fifty winters of peace a dragon attacked his land because a thief stole a cup from the dragon’s treasures so he wants to revenge by burns down his kingdom. At this time Beowulf was very old but he is the king so he has to face the dragon and protect his people. So he wore his armor and took his sword to fight the dragon. During the battle, he tried to kill him with the sword but it cracked and the dragon fire melts his armor. The warriors get scared and run away except Wiglaf who stayed to help him to kill the dragon. On the other hand in the film, is very different because the dragon attacks after Beowulf went to his cave and also he saw Grendel’s mother and she was still alive, not like the textbook Beowulf cuts her head off. after that, the dragon goes to Heorot and attacks them but Beowulf warriors faced the dragon, in contrast, to the textbook they ran away. While Beowulf attacks the dragon recognizes that his weak spot and kills the dragon, but he had to cut off his shoulders because of two things. First, the sword fell while he was attacking him. Second when the dragon was trying to kill two women, unlike in the textbook that two women did not exist. After Beowulf cut off his arm he took the dragon’s heart and killed him and both fell to the ground, unlike the textbook because it said Wiglaf helped him to kill the dragon but in the film he did not.

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In the end, I choose the textbook Beowulf poem version because it gives more details than the film. the film just gives short speeches. and the thing that I liked about the textbook makes you imagine everything; for example, Grendel I thought he would be a very big monster but in the film, he was just skinny, tall, and not big as I thought. moreover, the textbook poem helps you to understand what exactly happened with more emotional speeches. Also in the film, Grendel’s mother was still alive which makes Beowulf lie about her death! So the film made the epic hero untruthful and follow his desire. in contrast to the textbook, he always made you feel about Beowulf’s loyalty and honor. 

Works Cited:

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  2. Kinyua, K. (2019). Oedipus Rex as a tragic hero: a critical analysis. Journal of Humanities and Social Science Research, 1(1), 30-36.
  3. Knox, B. M. (1979). The hero and the chorus in Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus. Greece & Rome, 26(2), 104-117.
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  5. McDonald, M. (2015). Oedipus Rex: a tragic hero revisited. Journal of Hellenic Studies, 135, 39-51.
  6. Pickard-Cambridge, A. W. (1953). The dramatic festivals of Athens (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.
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  10. Webster-Merriam. (2022). Hubris. In Webster-Merriam Dictionary. Retrieved from
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Beowulf: Comparison of the Poem and Its Film Adaptation. (2022, April 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 25, 2024, from
“Beowulf: Comparison of the Poem and Its Film Adaptation.” GradesFixer, 29 Apr. 2022,
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