Confronting Robert Zemeckis’ Beowulf in the Digital Age
It is a fundamental fact that an epic documents the exploits of certain characters on a scale that sometimes crosses the limits of both space and time; in fact, these features account for the “grand style” of any epic composed. Coupled with its bravura sweep, any epic is also a faithful documentation of the age in which it is written, something that Prof. E.M.W. Tillyard calls its “choric” quality. However, in the digital age, with the advent of animation and other such modes of representation, much of the erstwhile grandeur of the traditional epics seems to have been lost, and this brings us closer to Walter Benjamin’s remark that in the mechanical age, a work of art loses is pseudo-divine aura as we tend to have “copies” of the work that is readily consumed. Taking clues from such theorists, this proposed paper is an attempt to locate Beowulf in the digital age and within the ‘mechanics’ of representation called “animation pictures” and alternative narratological strategies that tend to compromise not only with its original tone, but also with the story line.
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