Beowulf : Real Or Not Real? Essay
A Study in Realism and its’ Cultural Implications
Through the years, society as a whole has changed vastly. These changes are quite prominently reflected in two works: Beowulf, written in the Anglo-Saxon times, and a twenty-first century film entitled Beowulf and Grendel. Seeing cultural differences in literary works truly helps us understand the cultural values at one location or point in time. Although both of the works are in the same language, the lengthy time difference between the works being written displays the contrasting views and attitudes toward life over time. The epic poem Beowulf takes realism to a new level, challenging what we would believe as “real” in modern times, whereas the movie writers clearly endeavored to create characters with whom a modern audience might identify, an illustration of our culture’s values. The differences in realism are apparent in the two works, making the level of realism extremely low in the epic poem of Beowulf.
First of all, the character Beowulf is spoken of to have the strength of thirty men in one of his “hand-grips”. In real life, it is highly unlikely to have someone be capable of that immense amount of strength. One example shown in the epic poem starts in line 530, in which Beowulf recounts his great swimming race with Breca. He describes how they swam for five nights, all while fighting off sea-monsters and other foes. Beowulf states that he killed nine sea-monsters overall, before landing…