Hugh Johnson, Lines 1-390

Hugh Johnson, Lines 1-390
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  • "So Grendel ruled in defiance of right, One against all, until the greatest house In the world stood empty, a deserted wall stead." (144-146)
  • These lines represent the belly of the whale, where a sense of despair and sorrow is reached. After this point, the hero usually faces the cause of the situation and fulfillment and happiness is eventually reached with the hero learning or gaining something. This is true because after the state of Heorot is explained, Beowulf comes and defeats Grendel.
  • "Over the side, out on to the sand, And moored their ship. There was a clash of mail And a thresh of gear. They thanked God For that easy crossing on a calm sea." (226-228)
  • These lines signify crossing the threshold, where the hero passes into a new land or situation, marking the beginning of the quest. This is true in the poem as this marks where Beowulf and his men cross the ocean from Geatland to kill Grendel.
  • "In the Shieldings’ country. I come to proffer My wholehearted help and counsel. I can show the wise Hrothgar a way To defeat his enemy and find respite." (277-280)
  • These lines signify the hero's call to adventure, where an event persuades them to begin their quest. Beowulf hears about Grendel, and this persuades him to come and fight him.
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