beowulf epic poem summary

beowulf epic poem summary

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Upon arriving in Herot, Beowulf initially asks permission to take on the beast,

“. we have come seeking your prince, Healfdane’s son, protector of this people, only in friendship: instruct us, watchman, help us with your words! Our errand is a great one, our business with the glorious kind of the Danes no secret, there’s nothing dark or hidden in our coming. You know (if we’ve heard the truth, and been told honestly) that your country is cursed with some strange, vicious creature that hunts only at night and that no one has seen. It’s said, watchman, that he has slaughtered your people, brought terror to the darkness. Perhaps Hrothgar can hunt, here in my heart, for some way to drive this devil out. ”(lines 179-192)

This courteous offer of help is so noble of Beowulf, and it truly exhibits the characteristics of what a true warrior should be.

However, Beowulf’s perfection begins to fade in the second story where he takes on Grendel’s mother who is full of vengeance. Before descending into the depths of the fiery lake to confront Grendel’s mother, Beowulf gives orders to Hrothgar, a few spiteful remarks to Unferth, who questioned his ability before he fought Grendel, and then rudely jumped into the lake without response to his words. This shows Beowulf’s arrogance coming out because he openly displays his own self pride, and boasts of what he will do to the beast awaiting him in the depths.

Somehow the story just takes a big fast forward jumping fifty years ahead to when Beowulf is now an elderly king of the Geats. Now a fierce dragon has settled in Beowulf’s kingdom and he declares that he will take it on.

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Beowulf is considered to be the longest and greatest poem extant in Old English. It has recently been made famous by the Beowulf movie, Beowulf game, Beowulf 3d, and the Beowulf trailer. Totalling 3,182 lines, Beowulf was written sometime between 720 - 796 a.d. It has been preserved in the Cotton Vitellius A XV manuscript, in the British Museum, which was written about the year 1000. There is no specific literary source for the Beowulf epic. Many of its characters and digressions belong to the Germanic tradition preserved through the oral traditions of the minstrels. We know nothing, however, of Beowulf's author.

The structure of Beowulf is both tripartite and bipartite. Any point in the story, therefore, may be seen as either part of the decline and self-destruction of the steadfast hero and heroic ideal, or as a moment in life to which there exists a parallel yet contrasting moment in the other half of the poem.

The story of Beowulf opens by recounting the career of Scyld Scefing, a king sent by God to the Danes. After Scyld's death the Danes prosper under his descendants. One of those descendants, Hrothgar, builds the Danes a great hall called Heorot. Heorot is soon invaded by Grendel, a half-human monster who is hated by God. The Danes are helpless against these attacks until the hero Beowulf arrives to aid them. He battles Grendel in hand to hand combat in Heorot and kills the monster by tearing off its arm. Grendel's mother then comes to avenge her son. Beowulf and Hrothgar follow her to her lair in a disgusting lake, where Beowulf fights Grendel's mother in her hall at the bottom of the lake. Beowulf almost loses, but with the aid of God is eventually victorious. He is lavishly rewarded and returns to his own land where he tells his adventures to his uncle, King Hygelac. The poem then jumps fifty years into the future when Beowulf is in old age and king of the Geats. He then fights his last battle agains a dragon that is guardian of a cursed treasure. He tries to fight the dragon alone, but can only defeat it with the aid of a younger relative, Wiglaf. The dragon is killed, but mortally wounds Beowulf in the battle, and the old king passes away while gazing on the cursed treasure. The death of Beowulf marks the decline of the Geats, who are now surrounded by enemies made in previous campaigns. Consequently, the poem ends in mourning for both Beowulf and his nation.

There have been many different versions of the Beowulf story with each different Beowulf movie. The Beowulf movie is fun to watch, but to really appreciate the Beowulf story and understand the Beowulf movie, one should read the original Beowulf poem.

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. Epic Poetry of Beowulf Although it is often viewed as the model Anglo-Saxon literary work and as a foundation of modern literature, Beowulf has an odd history that complicates both its historical and its recognized place in English literature. By the time the story of Beowulf was composed by an unknown Anglo-Saxon poet (in around 700 a.d.) much of its material had been in movement in the oral native for many years. Many elements of Beowulf date back to the period of the migration of the Anglo-Saxons to Britain. The action of the poem takes place around 500 a.d. Which some of the characters in the poem correspond to some historical figures. Though still an old Anglo-Saxon story, Beowulf was told by a Christian poet. Therefore the Beowulf we read today is more than likely very different from the Beowulf that the first Anglo-Saxon audiences were familiar with. In the poem, the plot is extremely complex when it comes to an overview. King Hrothgar of Denmark, a descendant of the great king Shield Sheafson, enjoys a wealthy and successful time in power. He builds a great Mead-Hall, called Herot, where his warriors can gather to drink, receive gifts from their lord, and listen to the stories of the scops. But the thrilled noise from Herot angers Grendel, an awful demon who lives in the swamplands of Hrothgar’s kingdom. Grendel terrorizes the Danes every night, killing them.

. Edward Kang Litote – a form of understatement or the usage of negative words to emphasize a positive. * Ex) The use of litote in the poem of Beowulf is both intentional and ironic. When Beowulf describes himself fighting with the monster while swimming, he calls the scene to be a “small pleasure.” This fighting is certainly a scene of great violence, but by the description from Beowulf, readers could obtain the irony in the text. Epithet – an adjective phrase that is usually placed adjacent to the noun it is referring to * Ex) In the poem of Beowulf, the author frequently uses epithet to describe what kind of person each character is. For example, it is once mentioned in the poem “Beowulf, the son of Edgetho.” This describes Beowulf to be the son of Edgetho. Frequent use of this literary device allows the poem to avoid wordiness since the description phrases are not in a separate sentence. Kenning – A figurative that is used instead of a noun. * Ex) A kenning is usually used as some sort of metaphor in the poem of Beowulf. For example, the sea is said to be the “Whale’s road” in some part of the poem. The use of kenning made the author to avoid redundancy but at the same time to emphasize certain ideas. This moreover helped the author by allowing him to remember the stories he have written. Allusion – a reference, especially a covert or indirect one * Ex).

. PLOT SUMMARY Hrothgar is the King of the Danes in southern Denmark. Through success in battle he has become rich and mighty. As a symbol of his power and prosperity he builds a magnificent mead-hall, called Heorot, in which he and his loyal warriors can feast, drink, boast, and listen to the tales of the scops, the Anglo-Saxon bards. But soon after Heorot is finished, the mirth of the men and the music of the scop anger Grendel, a monster descended from Cain. Grendel raids the hall, snatching men and eating them, then returns to his home in the marsh. He repeats his nightly raids until no one dares sleep in the hall. Heorot, once the symbol of the Scyldings' greatness, is now a place of shame and terror. This continues for twelve years, until Beowulf, a young warrior of the Geats in southern Sweden, hears about Grendel and, determined to fight the monster, sails to Hrothgar's lands with fifteen companions. Hrothgar, who knew Beowulf's father Ecgtheow, accepts Beowulf's offer to fight Grendel and gives him a feast, though Beowulf and Unferth, a warrior loyal to Hrothgar, exchange insults. That night, the warriors sleep in Heorot, with Beowulf keeping watch. Grendel arrives and consumes one of the warriors, then reaches for Beowulf. Beowulf, famous for his powerful grip, which is as strong as the grip of thirty men, struggles with Grendel, tearing off the monster's shoulder and arm. Grendel.

. English 2-B Beowulf- Journal I think that the biggest theme in Beowulf has to be good vs. evil. This theme is stressed very much throughout the book in symbolism. Grendel represents pure evil, while Beowulf represents the exact polar opposite of the monster Grendel. In Beowulf anything evil or bad is related to hell, while anything good is because of their faith in god. The original concept of good and evil can be traced back to the sons of Adam and Eve, Cain and Able. Cain killed his brother because god favored his sacrifice more than his. Cain is the origin of evil and Able is the origin of good. Grendel is a descendant of Cain, and is pure evil he takes pleasure in causing misfortune for others. Beowulf is the definition of good and to people he is often viewed as a demi-god like being; he is seen as a man of pure faith which adds to his image of being a god among men. In the end the godly man (Beowulf) defeats the evil Grendel, in a hand to hand fight in Heorot. In Beowulf religion seems to be a big factor in the life of the Anglo-Saxons. Religion is seen as a very good trait among men. For all conflicts in Beowulf the people rely on god to give them their favor, because they believe this will help their struggle. Anything that is evil seems to have connections with the devil. Every man seeks god’s favor through sacrifices or smiting evil. But.

. throw the last punch or have the last say in the matter. They will not rest until something is done to satisfy them. In the epic poem Beowulf, translated by Charles W Kennedy, Beowulf illustrates how he and other characters in the story contradict the Christian ideal of forgiveness by using revenge. In this epic poem, the characters seem to always use revenge in their life. Constantly, either Beowulf or the gruesome monsters are exacting revenge on one another. All of this can be shown in the story of Beowulf. The first act of revenge in the poem is when Beowulf goes to king Hrothgar’s kingdom and slays Grendel. When Beowulf goes to Hrothgar’s kingdom, Beowulf speaks to Hrothgar, saying, “Single-handed I’ll settle the strife!” (Line 329) Beowulf is very determined to avenge king Hrothgar’s kingdom because they have been under attack from Grendel for the past 12 years. King Hrothgar is rejoices when Beowulf says that he will kill Grendel when He says, Speak of great deeds as your heart may spur you!” (Line 373) King Hrothgar is greatly pleased because he too has been seeking revenge on Grendel for his devious actions. King Hrothgar has no choice but to submit to the monster because he could not do anything about it. But alas, he finally has the opportunity to get revenge on the beast so he accepts Beowulf’s help. After the battle with Grendel.

. encouraged as Beowulf fell back; its breath flared, And he suffered, wrapped around in swirling flames- a king, before, but now A beaten warrior.” (Lines 687-69). Beowulf is an Anglo-Saxon epic poem that originated in England and was passed down orally for centuries. This old poem is the story of an epic hero named Beowulf that faces many challenges on the journey to glory and honor. In the epic Beowulf, heroic ideals and Anglo-Saxon ideology are shown through the actions and beliefs of Beowulf and Wiglaf. To begin with, the strong belief in fate from the hero Beowulf portrays heroic ideals and Anglo-Saxon ideology. In the story Beowulf, the titular hero believes that fate should be the deciding factor in his battles. After having heard about what happened at Herot in Hrothgar’s kingdom, Beowulf and his men sail over to the land of the Danes to aid Hrothgar. Beowulf and his men are then escorted to Herot, where he meets with Hrothgar and boasts about his feats, and how he will vanquish Grendel. “My hands alone shall fight for me, struggle for life Against the monster. God must decide who will be given to deaths cold grip… Fate will unwind as it must!” (Lines 173-189). This quote portrays how strongly Beowulf believes in fate. He’s willing to put his life on the line and allow fate to be the deciding factor. Later in.

. Grendel is a man-eating demon that lives in the land of the Spear-Danes and attacks King Hrothgar's mead-hall, Heorot, every evening. The narrator of Beowulf claims that Grendel's motivation is hearing Hrothgar's bard sing songs about God's creation of the world, which rubs his demonic nature the wrong way. Whatever the reason, every night Grendel slaughters more Danes and feeds on their corpses after tearing them limb from limb. Although he can't be harmed by the blade of any edged weapon, Grendel finally meets his match when the Geatish warrior Beowulf takes him on in a wrestling match. Cannibalism, curses, and Cain, oh my! The poet explains that Grendel and his mother are the descendants of the Biblical Cain, which suggests not only that they are part of a larger religious or supernatural scheme of evil, but also that they are connected with one of the worst things possible in tribal culture – fratricide, or the killing of a brother. However, at other points in the poem, Grendel seems less like a Biblical figure and more like a ghost, a demon, or something else that belongs in a Halloween-themed horror movie. Critics also like to play with the idea that Grendel might represent something that isn't supernatural at all – a member of another tribe, an outcast, or a warrior who won't play by the rules. After all, the real problem with Grendel is not that he kills people. Pretty much everyone in this story kills people. The problem with.

. The tale of Beowulf is an epic poem that has been passed down by word of mouth for centuries dating back to the 8th century. The poem is about an Anglo-Saxon hero, Beowulf, who sails to Denmark with a small army of men to defeat a local demon named Grendel. Grendel terrorizes the Danes every night, killing them, making them desperate to get rid of this demon. As the Danes celebrate the arrival of Beowulf in the mead-hall, Grendel arrives to kill everyone. Beowulf fights him unarmed, proving himself stronger than the demon, who is terrified of Beowulf. As Grendel struggles to escape, Beowulf tears the monster’s arm off. Mortally wounded, Grendel slinks back into the swamp to die. Grendel’s mother, a swamp-hag who lives in a desolate lake, comes to Heorot, the Danes land, seeking revenge for her son’s death. She murders Aeschere, one of Hrothgar’s most trusted advisers, before slinking away. To avenge Aeschere’s death, the company travels to the murky swamp, where Beowulf dives into the water and fights Grendel’s mother in her underwater lair. He kills her, and finds Grendel’s corpse, decapitates it and brings the head as a prize to Hrothgar, the king. Beowulf then leaves Denmark and returns to Geatland, where he and his men are reunited with their king and queen, where Beowulf tells about his adventures in Denmark. In time, Hygelac, the king, is.

Give me a short summary of the epic poem Beowulf?

The Old English epic poem Beowulf tells the story of a young Geatish warrior who comes to the aid of Hrothgar, the King of the Danes, whose kingdom is being terrorized by a monster named Grendel. Beowulf uses his epic strength and bravery to slay Grendel in Hrothgar’s mead hall, Heorot, and then to slay Grendel’s vengeful mother in her underwater lair. Beowulf’s fame spreads, and he returns home to Geatland laden with treasure for his king, Hygelac. Beowulf later becomes the king of the Geats and rules for a peaceful fifty years. When a dragon begins to pose a threat to Geatland, Beowulf and his servant Wiglaf set off to defeat it. Beowulf succeeds in slaying the dragon, but dies in the process.

Beowulf is a young warrior in Geatland, who comes to the aid of the Scyldings. Hrothgar is the Danish king and he and his people have been terrorized by a monster. Beowulf brings 14 of his finest men with him. He is returning the favor, Hrothgar sheltered Beowulf's father during a deadly feud. He also wants enhance his reputation and gather treasure for his king, Hygelac. The monster, Grendel comes and attacks them, but Beowulf.

Beowulf is a young warrior in Geatland, who comes to the aid of the Scyldings. Hrothgar is the Danish king and he and his people have been terrorized by a monster. Beowulf brings 14 of his finest men with him. He is returning the favor, Hrothgar sheltered Beowulf's father during a deadly feud. He also wants enhance his reputation and gather treasure for his king, Hygelac. The monster, Grendel comes and attacks them, but Beowulf cuts off his claw and the monster is mortally wounded. The mother of Grendel, not as strong as her son, but deeply motivated, plans revenge. She sneaks in and gets her son's claw. Beowulf and the men follow the trail of the mother and are lead to a dark swamp. Beowulf dives in to find the mother. He tries to fight her with his sword, but to no avail. He suddenly sees a magical sword and slices through the neck and spine of the monster, killing her. When the monster dies, he sees a great treasure, but he leaves it there, only bringing the head of the monster back with him.

He returns home and ends up becoming king and rules for 50 years. He has one last battle. This one is with the fiery dragon. He kills the dragon, but is mortally wounded in the battle and dies.

Beowulf is the longest surviving Anglo-Saxon poems today. It is a literary masterpiece. To know that a work of literature has lasted for this many years is remarkable. This poem is considered one of the most important works of literature today. It is truly one of the most amazing pieces of literature we have in our use today.

Beowulf is an Old English story by an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet. The poem tells a story of a strong and brave warrior (Beowulf) who defeats monsters and goes on to become King.

Beowulf’s first major battle was against Grendel, a monster that had been terrorizing the Scyldings. Beowulf heard about Grendel’s murderous spree in the land of the Danes under King Hrothgar and decided to come to their aid. Beowulf fights Grendel in a mead hall at Herot and tears off the monster’s arm, mortally wounding it. Grendel’s mother attacks the Danes in revenge but Beowulf follows the monster back to her lair and kills it. Beowulf goes back home to the Geats and becomes their King. Fifty years after his last battle with Grendel’s mother, Beowulf is forced to fight a dragon after a slave steals a golden cup from its lair. This last battle is however difficult for Beowulf who receives help from one of his men and the two finally defeat the dragon. During the battle with the dragon Beowulf was mortally wounded. The hero dies soon after and is buried ceremoniously at sea.

Beowulf is one of the most famous poems in old English. It is about three thousand lines long and the story revolves around three battles.

In the poem, Beowulf, a warrior from Geats comes to the rescue of Hrothgar, the king of the Danes whose land is being attacked by a monster, Grendel. Beowulf succeeds and defeats Grendel. To show his prowess, he even kills Grendel with his bare hands. However, the tension of the story escalates, because Grendel's mother is now on the warpath to get revenge. As the story progresses, Beowulf kills Grendel's mother in her liar with a sword that giants of a past time once used.

After this victory, Beowulf returns home to Geats. Fifty years pass. However, there is one final battle. There is a dragon that plagues his people because of stolen treasure. More importantly, Beowulf now has to defend his people. He fails at first, but then with the help of Wiglaf, a servant, chases the dragon into its lair and kills it. However, in the process, Beowulf receives a fatal wound and dies. Finally, he is buried by the sea.

Here is a video that provides an entertaining summary of the poem:

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