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The Danes proceed to spend most of their time in the hall drinking and celebrating. An angry outcast monster called Grendel is jealous of the Danes' happiness, so one night he devours several of the best warriors while they sleep. These attacks continue, and soon the Danes abandon Heorot.

Beowulf: A Tale of Blood, Heat, and Ashes

Long before writing The Lord of the Rings , J. Tolkien was widely known in academic circles as a Beowulf scholar. His lectures, "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics," emphasized the literary aspects of Beowulf , appreciating it as a story and not just as an historical artifact. His work led to a revival of interest in Beowulf. The plot is divided into two parts. The first part deals with young Beowulf's struggles against the monster Grendel and later Grendel's mother. The second part of the plot deals with King Beowulf's battles against a monster during his reign as King of the Geats.

Beowulf, a young warrior of the Geats, hears of Hrothgar's troubles and resolves to kill the monster Grendel.

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He and his men lie in Heorot and wait for Grendel to come. Beowulf has chosen to fight the monster with his bare hands because using a sword would give him an unfair advantage over the swordless Grendel. Beowulf pretends to sleep, and just as Grendel is about to devour him, he begins to fight the dreadful monster.

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After a long and trying battle, Beowulf tears Grendel's arm off and the monster flees to his lair to die. That night, there is a great celebration in Heorot, but it is interrupted by Grendel's mother, a hag-like being who lives at the bottom of a lake. She kills Beowulf's best warrior in revenge for her son's death and takes Grendel's arm back to her cave. Beowulf resolves to find and kill Grendel's mother, and he tracks her to a mere. Beowulf prepares to dive to the bottom of the mere, and one of Hrothgar's warriors called Unferth presents him with a sword called Hrunting.

Beowulf dives into the lake and is dragged down to the cave by Grendel's mother. There they begin to fight, but Beowulf is slowly overcome, as his sword is no match for Grendel's mother. In desperation, Beowulf takes up "an ancient sword of the giants" and with it kills Grendel's mother. Then Beowulf finds Grendel's corpse.

He decapitates him and takes the head to Hrothgar.


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Hrothgar gives him many gifts and sends him on his way to the land of the Geats. The story then jumps ahead many years. Beowulf is now the beloved and wise king of the Geats. When Beowulf is growing old, a man happens upon a dragon's lair and steals a gold cup. When the dragon finds her cup missing, she proceeds to burn the village and surrounding countryside. Beowulf and twelve men come to fight the dragon, but when the battle comes, they all flee except for one warrior named Wiglaf.

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He stays by Beowulf's side, and together, they slay the dragon. When the dragon is dead, Beowulf has been badly wounded, and he dies a kingly death. Beowulf is buried with the dragon's treasure beneath a mound of stones on the shore of a sea so his cairn may be a landmark for sailors to find their way by. Beowulf: Beowulf is the hero of the poem. He is the son of Ecgtheow and belongs to the tribe of the Geats.

He eventually becomes king of the Geats. Beowulf the Dane : A character who shares a name with the hero of the poem.

Beowulf Anglo-Saxon Essay | Bartleby

He is the son of Scyld Sceafing and king of the Danes. Breca : Breca is King of the Brondings. He once had a swimming contest with Beowulf when they were younger. Grendel : Grendel is the evil monster who attacks Hrothgar and his men in Heorot. Healfdene : Healfdene is a Danish king.

Bringing Beowulf to Britain

Heardred : A Geatish king. He is the son of Hygelac. Hengest : Hnaef's brother who leads the Danes after Hnaef dies. Hnaef : A King of the Danes. He dies and is succeeded by his brother, Hengest.

Hrethel : King of the Geats, Hygelac's father, and Beowulf's grandfather. Scyld Sceafing : Founder of the Danish royal house. The son of Sceaf. To ensure that his legend lives on, the author allows Beowulf to die, a heroic death. With little attention given to the place of Beowulf in society, the author of the poem makes him more relatable with all and sundry. The poem becomes more interesting when anyone who reads it can easily mistake Beowulf for any hero, who rose from the ground to build a name for himself, only to realize that he was actually born great, and he made himself unforgettable.

This is well illustrated by the eulogy presented at the end of the poem. Looking for research paper on british literature? Let's see if we can help you! O flower of warriors, beware of that trap. Choose, dear Beowulf, the better part, eternal rewards.

Do not give way to pride. For a brief while your strength is in bloom but it fades quickly; and soon there will follow illness or the sword to lay you low, or a sudden fire or surge of water or jabbing blade or javelin from the air or repellent age. Your piercing eye will dim and darken; and death will arrive, dear warrior, to sweep you away Williamson and Shippey Of importance to note is that because the author of the poem did not make an effort to explain his intentions or flows of thought when writing the poem, any reasons given are speculative.

Williamson, Craig and Tom Shippey. Beowulf and Other Old English Poems. This research paper on Why the story of Beowulf focuses on the history of the main character as a hero rather than a king was written and submitted by user Sonia Q. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly. You can donate your paper here. We use cookies to give you the best experience possible.