Adaptation as Hyperreality: The (A)Historicism of Trauma in Robert Zemeckis’s Beowulf

  • Philipp Hinz
  • Margitta Rouse
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


A young man makes a mistake. Tempted by an attractive woman and the promise of wealth and power, he unwittingly fathers a son. Years later, after he has become a great leader and husband to a beautiful and considerably younger wife, his legacy is threatened for lack of a legitimate heir. The issue of his unacknowledged child complicates his marriage, because his wife resents his sexual past. His adolescent “bastard” son, a social outcast unwanted by his father and shunned by society, suffers greatly, too. Seeking to attract his father’s attention, or simply to revenge himself, he regularly humiliates the old man on public occasions—but his aggressive acts fail to lessen his growing frustration with his father. Powerless and incapable of preventing such scenes, the old man finally hires a young assassin. Having completed his mission, the killer is rewarded by being installed as the old man’s heir. When the old man dies his successor inherits not only his wealth and power, but also wins the young widow’s love. But history repeats itself: The young man, too, is seduced by the murdered bastard’s excessively rich mother and fathers a son with her. Years later, when his unwanted son is old enough to haunt him, the story comes full circle.


Motion Capture Virtual Camera Digital Cinema Digital Performance Medieval Study 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Andrew James Johnston, Margitta Rouse, and Philipp Hinz 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philipp Hinz
  • Margitta Rouse

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