Monday, March 28, 2011

Beowulf vs Frodo

So, one main difference between the Lord of the Rings and Beowulf that I noticed are who the antagonists are and how they act. Was anyone else really bothered by how arrogant Beowulf is? I mean, cool, you killed Grendel, but you don't have to brag about it. I think this is why people like Frodo and all of the other main characters in the Lord of the Rings better. They do what they do to help Middle-earth--not to prove how strong they are.

4 comments:

Radagast said...

I would definately agree with this! Even when Beowulf was going to get the treasure from the dragon for his people, I think he was doing it mainly to gain himself one last bit of fame! I mean he could have sent others to try or he could have had others helping him from the beginning if his main goal was to kill the dragon and get the treasure for his people. But the fact that he decides to do it on his own again and makes a point out of that, I think, makes it clear that his true intention is to gain himslef more glory. But you're right, in Lord of the Rings, they really don't seem to do things simply for glory. I'm sure there are exceptions that I'm not thinking of, but they seem to do most everything for the betterment of Middle-earth.

Thengel said...

I would argue that, as was pointed out in class, pride and bragging were part of the culture and time period surrounding Beowulf. The scene with Unfirth, for example, is essentially a back-and-forth bragging contest, but instead of finding it irritating, the people in the hall admire both men all the more for it. Clearly, this is not a trait of Anglo-Saxon culture that Tolkien sought to translate to LOTR. But maybe in some moments, it is? I'm thinking of Gimli and Legolas' Orc-killing competitions, and the bragging that came along with their rivalry. The only thing I find sad about the character of Beowulf is that his pride remains even after he has aged, matured, and assumed the responsibilities of a kingdom. In his youth, his pride is his trophy. As an older king, it becomes his downfall. LOTR characters learn from their moments of pride and greed, and are more likable because of it.

Elladan said...

I agree totally with Thengel's comments and stance above. There are many differences between the worlds of Middle-earth and pre-eighth century Denmark/Europe. The values of the two cultures are very distinct and they do not necessarily appreciate the same characteristics in warriors and heroes. This is very important to remember before condemning Beowulf for being prideful and self-absorbed.

Haleth said...

I guess Thengel and Elladan's arguments also make sense. But I think I'm still annoyed by the fact that Beowulf's main motivating factor is gaining pride and glory. I think this also infringes on how much I can consider Beowulf as a piece of literature. Because I just feel like pride and glory aren't things that are motivating enough to make for a good story. For me at least. I think we also discussed in class how what is considered literature is how a story makes us feel. And for me, I didn't end up feeling too much.