Friday, October 22, 2004

Brit Lit 101

The slings and arrows of outrageous Red Sox fortune have frequently been described as "Shakespearean," mostly by people who wanted to feel a little less bad about enjoying the misery of Red Sox fans. Some of these people, it should be admitted, are Red Sox fans and wanted to kid themselves about the fact that they were enjoying their own misery. Well, I've got news. This year's Red Sox team is working from a script even older than Shakespeare. The oldest script in English, to be precise.

Beowulf, strapping young hero with something to prove, crosses the ocean to come to the aid of King Hrothgar of Denmark. Hrothgar's glorious mead hall Heorot has become synonymous with desolation, as a murderous beast named Grendel keeps breaking in and chewing up the guests like so much chips and salsa. Beowulf sets about avenging those deaths and rips off Grendel's arm in single combat. The monster gets away, but lurches off into the fetid mists to die, swinging his remaining arm in girly-fiend fashion to knock eggs out of birds' nests as he goes. (All right, I made that last clause up. Or did I?)

For those of you keeping score at home:
Heorot=Fenway Park
Hrothgar=Red Sox fans
Grendel=the Yankees
Beowulf=Red Sox

This is as far as the Classics Illustrated version of the poem goes, and this is as far as the Red Sox have come to this point. Beowulf and Hrothgar are whooping it up in Heorot, which is full of bad hair and pine tar and sheer joy, dancing around the severed arm of the evil thing that terrorized them for so long. All well and good, but the Sox need to follow the script a little further.

As the Danes are sleeping off unprecedented amounts of mead, Grendel's mother shows up and chows down on one of Hrothgar's oldest and dearest friends. Who knew monsters had mothers? Beowulf, to finish the task he thought he'd already accomplished, must track the hag back to a spooky swamp, swim to the very bottom, and kill the she-demon in her lair.

Beowulf's first battle establishes a reputation, and guarantees that his name will be forever sung. This second battle, perhaps less glamorous and even more dangerous, is about more than just glory. It's about the possibility of breaking the cycle of vengeance once and for all.

You can see where I'm going with this, I hope. Tomorrow night, we dive into that swamp.


At 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a little snippet from Sox/Cards '67:

joyrides without maps

At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't Beowolf die in the end?


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