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Abstract

The Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf concludes with the extinction of both the heroes and the monsters of the text. The poet even problematizes individual survival, which leads to exile, revenge, and further violence. Although the four recent film adaptations of Beowulf refer to the poem as the ultimate monument to their hero, they also self-consciously postmodernize the text by blurring the boundary between monster and human. Yet because the films both fetishize individual survival and refuse to exterminate either the humans or the monsters, they do not accurately reflect the violence of the poem.