Beowulf 's The Buried Giant And Seamus Heaney 's Translation Of Beowulf

1308 Words Sep 20th, 2016 6 Pages
The idea of revenge is a powerful one, for it requires extreme motivation to go to the end of one’s lengths to harm another. However, in both Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant and Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf, the theme of exacting retribution on wrongdoers plays a major role in the storylines. For instance, the entirety of The Buried Giant’s plot is reliant upon Wistan’s deep-seated hatred towards the Britons. An atrocious genocide from the past drives him single-mindedly to slay the dragon Querig, with no thoughts but those of reprisal against the Britons. Meanwhile, in Beowulf, vengeance also acts as the motivating factor for Beowulf. Initially, Grendel attacks Heorot and kills many a man, but in return, Beowulf avenges the Danes by slaying Grendel with his bare hands. However, this brings upon the Danes a fury from Grendel’s mother, a terrible monster who vows to recompense the loss of her only son. Beowulf seems to appreciate the recurring vengefulness present in the two novels and claims, “It is always better / to avenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning” (Heaney 1384-1385). These are the heroic words of Beowulf, who along with Wistan are men admired and remembered for their courage. Hence, the novels portray a unique relationship between vengeance and heroism: both protagonists are motivated to avenge their comrades by a remembrance as a hero.
Wistan, a Saxon warrior in The Buried Giant, alludes to be a simple, loyal knight carrying out a mission for…

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