It is one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature, and has been the subject of much scholarly study, theory, speculation and discourse. Hrothgar is well loved by his people and successful in war. He builds a lavish hall, called Herot or Heorotto house his vast army, and when the hall is finished the Danish soldiers gather under its roof to celebrate.
It is one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature, and has been the subject of much scholarly study, theory, speculation and discourse. Synopsis Back to Top of Page The poem begins with a history of the Danish kings, starting with Shild whose funeral is described in the Prologue and leading up to the reign of the current king Hrothgar, Shild's great-grandson.
Hrothgar is well loved by his people and successful in war. He builds a lavish hall, called Herot or Heorotto house his vast army, and when the hall is finished the Danish soldiers gather under its roof to celebrate.
However, provoked by the singing and carousing of Hrothgar's followers, Grendela monster in human shape who lives at the bottom of a nearby swamp, appears at the hall late one night and kills thirty of the warriors in their sleep.
For the next twelve years the fear of Grendel 's potential fury casts a shadow over the lives of the Danes. Hrothgar and his advisers can think of nothing to appease the monster's anger. Beowulfprince of the Geats, hears about Hrothgar's troubles, and gathers fourteen of his bravest warriors, and sets sail from his home in southern Sweden.
The Geats are greeted by the members of Hrothgar's court, and Beowulf boasts to the king of his previous successes as a warrior, particularly his success in fighting sea monsters. Hrothgar welcomes the arrival of the Geats, hoping that Beowulf will live up to his reputation.
During the banquet that follows Beowulf 's arrival, Unferth, a Danish soldier, voices his doubts about Beowulf 's past accomplishments, and Beowulfin turn, accuses Unferth of killing his brothers.
Before retiring for the night, Hrothgar promises Beowulf great treasures if he meets with success against the monster. That night, Grendel appears at Herot, and Beowulftrue to his word, wrestles the monster bare-handed. He tears off the monster's arm at the shoulder, but Grendel escapes, only to die soon afterward at the bottom of the snake-infested swamp where he and his mother live.
The Danish warriors, who had fled the hall in fear, return singing songs in praise of Beowulf 's triumph and performing heroic stories in Beowulf 's honour.
Hrothgar rewards Beowulf with a great store of treasures and, after another banquet, the warriors of both the Geats and the Danes retire for the night. She arrives at the hall when all the warriors are sleeping and carries off Esher, Hrothgar's chief adviser.
Beowulfrising to the occasion, offers to dive to the bottom of the lake, find the monster's dwelling place, and destroy her. He and his men follow the monster's tracks to the cliff overlooking the lake where Grendel 's mother lives, where they see Esher's bloody head floating on the surface of the lake.
Beowulf prepares for battle and asks Hrothgar to look after his warriors and to send his treasures to his uncle, King Higlac, if he does not return safely. During the ensuing battle, Grendel 's mother carries Beowulf down to her underwater home, but Beowulf finally kills the monster with a magical sword that he finds on the wall of her home.
He also finds Grendel 's dead body, cuts off the head, and returns to dry land.
The Geat and Danish warriors, waiting expectantly, celebrate as Beowulf has now purged Denmark of the race of evil monsters.
They return to Hrothgar's court, where the Danish king is duly thankful, but warns Beowulf against the dangers of pride and the fleeting nature of fame and power. The Danes and Geats prepare a great feast in celebration of the death of the monsters and the next morning the Geats hurry to their boat, anxious to begin the trip home.
Beowulf bids farewell to Hrothgar and tells the old king that if the Danes ever again need help he will gladly come to their assistance.
Hrothgar presents Beowulf with more treasures and they embrace, emotionally, like father and son. Beowulf and the Geats sail home and, after recounting the story of his battles with Grendel and Grendel 's mother, Beowulf tells the Geat king Higlac about the feud between Denmark and their enemies, the Hathobards.
He describes the proposed peace settlement, in which Hrothgar will give his daughter Freaw to Ingeld, king of the Hathobards, but predicts that the peace will not last long.
Higlac rewards Beowulf for his bravery with parcels of land, swords and houses. In the second part of the poem, set many years later, Higlac is dead, and Beowulf has been king of the Geats for some fifty years.
One day, a thief steals a jewelled cup from a sleeping dragon, and the dragon avenges his loss by flying through the night burning down houses, including Beowulf 's own hall and throne.
Beowulf goes to the cave where the dragon lives, vowing to destroy it single-handed.A basic level guide to some of the best known and loved works of prose, poetry and drama from other ancient civilizations - Beowulf.
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In poetry, metre is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in iridis-photo-restoration.com traditional verse forms prescribe a specific verse metre, or a certain set of metres alternating in a particular order. The study and the actual use of metres and forms of versification are both known as prosody.
(Within linguistics, "prosody" is used in a more general sense that includes not only poetic metre.
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