Beowulf

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  • A monster named Grendel kills 30 danes in their main hall/castle, Herot. So mankind's enemy ( kenning) continued his crimes, killing as often as he could, coming alone, bloodthirsty and horrible (line 79).  Beowulf hears about this, so he gathers the strongest Geats and they set sail for Denmark. Beowulf is confident he will defeat Grendel. He says, "God must decide who will be given to death's cold grip" (Line 270).  Here, Beowulf keeps referring to fate, since that will be the factor that decides who will win.  Beowulf shows characteristics of an epic hero. For example, he says, "And if death does take me, send the hammered mail of my armor to Higlac, return the inheritance I had from Hrethel..." (Line 281). This describes an epic hero because this shows Beowulf's humbleness.
  • Beowulf battles Grendel; he rips off his arm, shoulder, and claw. An example of a kenning is, "That mighty protector of men meant to hold the monster til its life leaped out..." (line 366). The underlined portion is referring to Beowulf.  An example of the fate theme is "And yet his time had come, his days were over, his death near; down down to hell he would go..." (line 379). An example of an epic hero is, "...of him who all of the men on earth was the strongest" (Line 364). This is describing an epic hero because Beowulf has superhuman strength. 
  • King Hrothgar tells Beowulf about Grendel's mother and where she lives. An example of a kenning is, "...Cliffs, wolf-dens where water pours from the rocks..." (line 425).  An example of the fate theme is, "Save us one more, and again twisted gold, heaped-up ancient treasure, will reward you for the battle you win!"(line 445). An example of an epic hero could be used by the same quote because Beowulf has a lot of courage to go after Grendel's mother. In addition, he is doing all of this for the greater good and general welfare of the people; he is their protector.
  • Beowulf and Grendel's mother battle but his sword Hrunting fails to penetrate the mother.  However, he finds a giant sword and kills her with it. He then goes to Grendel and slices off his head afterward.  An example of a kenning is Line 471, "And all at once the greedy she-wolf who'd ruled those waters for half a hundred years discovered him..." An example of the theme of fate is evident in line 530, "Then he saw, hanging on the wall, a heavy sword, hammered by giants, strong and blessed with their magic, the best of all weapons..." An example of characteristics of an epic hero is found in line 596, "Then that noble protector of all seamen swam to land, rejoicing in the heavy burdens he was bringing with him"
  • Beowulf fights the dragon, but Beowulf brings no weapons. He is bitten on the neck and dies, Wiglaf was the only there to help him. A kenning is found in line 695, "And the Geats' ring-giver did not boast of glorious victories..." An example of an epic hero quality is found in line 758, "But those days are over and gone and now our lord must lean on younger arms." An example of fate is in line 768, "I swear that nothing he ever did deserved an end like this..."
  • Beowulf is dying; he puts Wiglaf in charge of the Geats. He also asks Wiglaf to erect a statue of him. An example of a kenning is in line 801, "Had finished the fire-spitting terror... An example of fate is "Fate has swept our race away..." (line 836). An example of an epic hero is evident in line 860, "...Praising him or heroic deeds, for a life as noble as his name"
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