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Beowulf, the main character, is an ideal king and archetypal warrior.
Beowulf, true to his word, wrestles the monster barehanded. He tears off the monster's arm at the shoulder, but Grendel escapes, only to die soon afterward at the bottom of his snake-infested mere.
Beowulf is part of a tribe called the Geats—his specific branch is named the "Weather-Geats"—a medieval band of warriors living in the area that today is the nation of Sweden. The Geats are definitely not Swedes, though. In fact, the Geats and Swedes are two rival Swedish tribes, in the same way that the Franks and Frisians are rival Germanic tribes. Confused? The point is that they're two different groups living in the area that, centuries later, will be Sweden.
Shmoop breaks down key quotations from Beowulf.
Beowulf's first allegiance is to the king of the Geats, Hygelac. His second allegiance is to his clan, or extended family, which we learn is called the "Waegmundings." Beowulf is also willing to serve King Hrothgar of the Danes, because Hrothgar once helped Beowulf's father, Ecgtheow, out of a difficult situation. But, although Beowulf is a loyal retainer and distinguishes himself in Hygelac's service,
Yet, the circumstances surrounding the battle – Beowulf's disregard for his thanes' advice and the Geats' bleak future without their king – raise pointed questions about Beowulf and his motivations.
It's… Beowulf, a medieval Geatish warrior willing to take on any c...
However, Beowulf’s oldest manuscript was written by a Christian for freshly-converted Christians, thus the poem as we know it shows the superiority of Christianity over pagan religions....
Unferth is jealous and feels threatened by Beowulf " for he would not allow that any other man of middle-earth should ever achieve more glory under the heavens than himself." (Norton p.
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Beowulf the Geat took on Grendel and Grendel’s Mother.
Well, anyway, they get separated when Beowulf is dragged to the bottom of the sea by a ferocious monster, which he slays. In fact, by the time he gets out of the water, he's killed nine different sea monsters and survived an unbelievable ordeal.
The author makes evident what the evil is in the poem Beowulf.
It would be easy enough to leave the story that way, but it appears that Beowulf is written intentionally to make the main characters appear more important by adding Biblical references to the narrative....
Beow is the father of Halfdane...
Hygelac rewards Beowulf for his bravery with land, swords, and houses.
The meeting between Hygelac and Beowulf marks the end of the first part of the poem.
In the case of the epic poem, Beowulf, this is also true.
We also learn about one of Beowulf's past feats of strength and heroism—a swimming contest with his friend Breca. Beowulf and Breca decided to have a swimming contest, so they headed out into the open sea. Of course, they had to wear full armor and carry swords, so that they could defend themselves against sea monsters. We know what you're thinking...
Beowulfs popularity had spread all over the world.
Sound a little too amazing to be true? This whale of a tale serves several purposes in the epic. First, it gives Beowulf some of the characteristics of a folk hero or even a demi-god; he seems more like something out of legend than a real warrior, which adds to the epic feel of the story. Second, Beowulf gets a chance to boast about his prowess as a warrior:
Beowulf shows physical strength in the story by defeating Grendel.
A thief steals a jeweled cup from a sleeping dragon who avenges his loss by flying through the night burning down houses, including Beowulf's own hall and throne.
In line 219 of Grendel’s mother, it tells how Beowulf killed her.
After recounting the story of his battles with Grendel and Grendel's mother, Beowulf tells King Hygelac about the feud between Denmark and their enemies, the Heatho-bards.
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