Document Type

Junior Award Winner

Award Date

Fall 2009

Course Name

Literary Explorations III


Tracy Townsend


Mark Twain was noted for saying, “If everybody was satisfied with himself there would be no heroes.” The Anglo-Saxon tale of Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, used precisely this idea of a hero, a perfect version of themselves, to be the lead in their story. Beowulf was seen as flawless, able to defeat any obstacle that came in his path. His character was one that reflected their hopes of a sort of savior who possessed the refined skills they did not seem to have. In contrast, the modern take on heroes has always found some blemish on the untarnished champion, which is exactly what the producers of the new Beowulf film did. The CGI film versionof Beowulf, directed by Robert Zemeckis and produced in 2007, altered certain aspects of the story, like Beowulf’s boast about his feats and his complex relationship with Grendel’s mother, to better reflect contemporary skepticism towards a stainless hero.