Summary of Beowulf

Summary of Beowulf

Summary of Beowulf (Epic of England) The Danish king Hrothgar was enjoying a great reign when he begins having trouble in his kingdom with a monster Grendel that has invaded his mead hall. The mead hall is the gathering place of the Danes where they sing and feast, yet Grendel occupies it nightly devouring any Dane who enters. For twelve years Grendel prevents anybody from entering the mead hall causing Hrothgar to be miserable. From across the sea the Geats hear of the Danes terrible problem with Grendel and rush Beowulf and a group of his men to aid the Danes.

The men arrive and immediately prepare to take on Grendel at night. They camp out in the mead hall and wait for Grendel. When he comes they are all asleep but Beowulf who is only pretending. Grendel snatches up one soldier and eats him. Next he reaches to eat Beowulf, who grabs Grendel’s arm and rips it off. Grendel fleas leaving a long trace of blood, and Beowulf and his men rejoice knowing Grendel is dead. Beowulf hangs the arm from the rafters of the mead hall.

Later that night Grendel’s mother comes to the mead hall to avenge her son’s death and snatches up one soldier quickly while also picking up her son’s arm. She fleas quickly however because she does not have the strength to battle like her son. Beowulf and his men are enraged so they follow her to her home under a lake. Beowulf dives into the lake and finds her lair. He struggles with her and eventually finds a sword that is shining from the light of God, he takes and uses it to behead her.

He later chops the head off of the dead Grendel and takes it to the surface. He comes out of the water and his men are all joyful as they go to give the great news to Hrothgar. Hroghgar is ecstatic and gives gifts to the men. 50 years later Beowulf is the king of the Danes, a Dragon is terrorizing the people. Beowulf by then is old and yet he still goes to fight the Dragon and takes a group of men with him. When they arrive all but one of them flea, Wiglaf, he helps kill the Dragon, who slashed at Beowulf’s throat causing him to die.

Beowulf did make a speech before dying saying that Wiglaf was the last true warrior. Wiglaf later yelled at the other men for running away. And when all was said and done the Danes built Beowulf a funeral pyre to honor him. In the end it is obvious that Beowulf was a legend to the Danes and his legacy lived on for thousands of years. Wiglaf’s bravery at the end to help Beowulf defeat the dragon makes Beowulf proud and is in the tradition of great warriors like Beowulf. This story has a great plot that develops because of the three problems that Beowulf encounters.