Beowulf and Grendel

#1
When JT is teaching his class, he refers to demons, specifically Grendel from Beowulf. I found this tidbit on the net:

Beowulf -- The original Grendel was a monster in the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf. Descendant of Cain, mere-dweller, and with the meanest mother around, he was the hero Beowulf's first foe in the work.

Beowulf eventually fights Grendel, defeating him by taking off his arm.

There is so much here that is important for this episode and this series, that my head is swimming. Some intial thoughts:

1. A descendant of Cain, the original murderer.

2. He had the meanest mother around (Livia)

3. Beowulf the hero takes away an arm from Grendel, like the Zombie in "Cleaver".

Can anyone with a knowledge of great litereature help me understand further the implications of this reference to Tony, the family and the lifestyle choices that Tony must make?



</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p098.ezboard.com/bthechaselounge ... ac72261</A>
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at: 3/27/06 12:17 am

Re: Beowulf and Grendel

#2
I haven't read Beowulf in years, but here are a couple ideas your post gave me.

1.Beowulf is a poem that deals with the Warrior code of that culture or codes of honor, if you will. Being as the poem is set in Scandinavia, it might not be a stretch to think there's something to Sil asking ," What? Am I speaking in Norwegian?" The last two episodes we have seen plently of evidence that most of Tony's crew are out for themselves. Vito is the prime example, but you can see it in almost all the major charecters. Silvio is my pick as the one who will stick with Tony untill the end.

2.Family linage is also tantamount in Beowulf, which could be tied in to Tony's loss of identity in his coma state and in the show in general.





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Re: Beowulf and Grendel

#3
That was a good pickup--it is very much like Beowulf...

In Beowulf, the men who serve Hrothgar live according to the bonds of comitatus (omerta?), a social schema whereby the lord is obligated to his followers to provide them with treasure, community, and a home, when those followers are loyal, brave and willing to defend their comrades and lord at any cost (sound familiar???). This mutual obligation creates a bond among all the men and a community in which all know their position (the hierarchy is well set, but with Tony in the hospital, the hiearchy is in turmoil, with some of the members trying to assume the top role). Therefore, Grendel's (Junior, possibly) rampage disturbed more than a house (Tony's nuclear family); he also broke apart the bonds of a community (the Soprano Crime Family) when he destroyed Heorot (shot Tony), the symbol of community, itself.




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Re: Beowulf and Grendel

#8
billymac wrote:
Mon Mar 27, 2006 12:01 am
When JT is teaching his class, he refers to demons, specifically Grendel from Beowulf. I found this tidbit on the net:

Beowulf -- The original Grendel was a monster in the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf. Descendant of Cain, mere-dweller, and with the meanest mother around, he was the hero Beowulf's first foe in the work.

Beowulf eventually fights Grendel, defeating him by taking off his arm.

There is so much here that is important for this episode and this series, that my head is swimming. Some intial thoughts:

1. A descendant of Cain, the original murderer.

2. He had the meanest mother around (Livia)

3. Beowulf the hero takes away an arm from Grendel, like the Zombie in "Cleaver".

Can anyone with a knowledge of great literature help me understand further the implications of this reference to Tony, the family and the lifestyle choices that Tony must make?



</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p098.ezboard.com/bthechaselounge ... ac72261</A>
Image
at: 3/27/06 12:17 am
SPOILER warnings
I am reviewing this some 14 years later after the end of the Show, some things have likely changed with the information at hand.

I am a little confused whether you are trying to draw a parallel from Tony to Beowulf or Grendel.
Beowulf, ('bee wolf' or 'hunter of honey') bear = Tony but what this is missing is Tony defeating Grendel, and then Grendel's mother.

Grendel, descendant of Cain, connection to murder, consumes people, monstrous mother = Tony. What is missing is a "Beowulf" fighting Tony, taking TONY's arm, and fighting "Grendel's Mother"

The John Gardner novel was written in the shadow of the Vietnam war, and seeks to paint the monstrous Grendel in a more human light, and Beowulf in a more barbaric light. (Everything is everything, who really is the monster). This is strongly attached to the study of Beowulf in contemporary literature classes now.

What immediately comes to mind for me is the "comitatus" that has been mentioned. The original King in "Beowulf" (King Hrothgar) was called "The Ring Giver" because of his kindness and generosity to his warriors. Beowulf inherits the throne; in the poem not much is said of his reign but recent interpretations like the 1971 novel "Grendel" by John Gardner, tend to depict King Beowulf as less successful. Hearing of a connection between Sopranos and Beowulf my immediate though is of "comitatus" and Tony telling Junior not to "eat alone". Like the modern interpretations of Beowulf, Tony struggles to do this, and completely abandons his obligations of "ring giving" by season 5 and the end of the series.

Beowulf vs Grendel Fight.
Beowulf chooses to fight Grendel unarmed, and nude, it is wrestling.
In the middle of the night Beowulf defeats Grendel in hand to hand combat and tears off his arm.
Grendel does not die but retreats to the safety of his mother.
Beowulf then goes to their lair and defeats Grendel's mother.

Perhaps, Tony is Grendel and Beowulf both. Their conflict Tony's wrestling with his own-self. Am I the bear or the man ("The beast in me")? The fight in the night being symbolic of Tony having these conflicts in his dreams. Tony never defeats his monster; his two sides, both barbaric, continue to wrestle each other tearing pieces off Tony's ego. The only victory would be to go into the depths where the monster and mother (parent) live and slay the source of the beast.
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