Beowulf is one of the oldest stories in the English language. However, the basic story--good versus evil--has been repeated again and again.
One important aspect of the story is the fact that Grendel attacks not only the men, but their way of life. The mead-hall is central to their society. By abandoning it, they are abandoning their tales of battles, feasts, and boasting of future glory. Beowulf comes to purge the evil from the hall and restore Hrothgar and his men to their (and his) way of life. Throughout the story, Beowulf’s words and actions show us what is important in his society. The scop also goes into great detail about the Danes’ and Geats’ way of life as warriors.
For this assignment, you are to modernize the story of Beowulf, up to his defeat of Grendel. To do so, you will need to place Beowulf in modern times, of course. However, there aren’t many guys running around in armor with swords these days. Beowulf will need a job. Heorot will become something important to today’s society. Grendel will be someone who threatens it. Beowulf will need to defeat him somehow. He does not have to kill Grendel in your story. Think of an interesting, funny, or just an ordinary job. (Try to be creative. Grendel does not have to be a robber or a terrorist.)
Another important aspect of Beowulf is the way in which it is
told/ written. The scop uses kennings, alliteration, and foreshadowing
in telling his story. He also takes great care in describing Beowulf’s
appearance as he readies for battle, as well as other parts of the story.
These create a strong (and difficult) voice. For this assignment,
you should use three kennings to refer to Beowulf and three to refer to
Grendel. Have fun with them. Think of the job you have assigned
to Beowulf, and what his responsibilities are. A cabbie: “Beowulf,
driver of tourists.” A cashier: “Beowulf, giver of change.” (You
may wish to be more serious, too. Pick whether you want to be serious
or funny. It is your choice.) You should also describe what
the modern-day Beowulf and Grendel look like. Does Beowulf still
look like a warrior? Or like an ordinary guy?
This assignment will be graded as follows: