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The setting of the epic is the sixth century in what is now known as Denmark and southwestern Sweden.
Grendel rules the mead-hall nightly. At a feast before nightfall of the first day of the visit, an obnoxious, drunken Scylding named Unferth insults Beowulf and claims that the Geat visitor once embarrassingly lost a swimming contest to a boyhood acquaintance named Breca and is no match for Grendel.
Beowulf responds with dignity while putting Unferth in his place. In fact, the two swimmers were separated by a storm on the fifth night of the contest, and Beowulf had slain nine sea monsters before finally returning to shore. While the Danes retire to safer sleeping quarters, Beowulf and the Geats bed down in Heorot, fully aware that Grendel will visit them.
Angered by the joy of the men in the mead-hall, the ogre furiously bursts in on the Geats, killing one and then reaching for Beowulf.
The claw trophy hangs high under the roof of Heorot. Filled with mead, wine, and great food, the entire party retires for what they expect to be the first peaceful night in years. Carrying a sword called Hrunting, a gift from the chastised Unferth, Beowulf dives into the mere to seek the mother.
The mother moves to kill Beowulf with her knife, but his armor, made by the legendary blacksmith Weland, protects him. Beowulf decapitates the corpse.
The magic sword melts to its hilt. After more celebration and gifts and a sermon by Hrothgar warning of the dangers of pride and the mutability of time, Beowulf and his men return to Geatland. There he serves his king well until Hygelac is killed in battle and his son dies in a feud.
Beowulf is then named king and rules successfully for 50 years. Like Hrothgar, however, his peace is shattered in his declining years. Beowulf must battle one more demon.
Beowulf insists on taking on the dragon alone, but his own sword, Naegling, is no match for the monster. Seeing his king in trouble, one thane, Wiglaf, goes to his assistance.
The others flee to the woods. Together, Wiglaf and Beowulf kill the dragon, but the mighty king is mortally wounded. Dying, Beowulf leaves his kingdom to Wiglaf and requests that his body be cremated in a funeral pyre and buried high on a seaside cliff where passing sailors might see the barrow.
It is said that they lie there still.The Beowulf story has its roots in a pagan Saxon past, but by the time the epic was written down, almost all Anglo-Saxons had converted to Christianity. As a result, the Beowulf poet is at pains to resolve his Christian beliefs with the often quite un-Christian behavior of his characters.
The Beauty of Anglo-Saxon Poetry: A Prelude to Beowulf. Created September 7, Tools. Email. The Lesson. They may do this analysis by using either the Anglo-Saxon or translated version. Next, each student writes a riddle in the Anglo-Saxon style and turns it in to the teacher. Compile the riddles and give them to students' classmates or.
The epic poem of Beowulf, rewritten in English by Seamus Heaney, is a grade-A caliber source of how people viewed a “hero’ back in Anglo-Saxon times.
The Geat hero, Beowulf, leads his people through his examples of fearlessness and pure strength. Beowulf is a perfect description of Anglo-Saxon times because of its values, poetic style, and epic hero.
Beowulf is the paradigm of the epic hero who was revered in Anglo Saxon times.
A hero tends to be a man who is born into royalty and must incorporate certain traits like wisdom, strength, and courage that set him apart from the average person. The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is the most important work of Old English literature, and is well deserved of the distinction.
The epic tells the story of a hero, a Scandinavian prince named Beowulf, who rids the Danes of the monster Grendel, a descendent of Cain, and of .
The present work is a modest effort to reproduce approximately, in modern measures, the venerable epic, Beowulf. Approximately, I repeat; for a very close reproduction of Anglo-Saxon verse would, to a large extent, be prose to a modern ear.
The Heyne-Socin text and glossary have been closely.