Home / Characters / Summary / Commentary + Modern Day Connection

The version of Beowulf that this text is summarizing is the version included in the myPerspectives | British And World Literature, Vol. 1 by the Savvas Learning Company LLC., copyrighted 2021

The Wrath of Grendel

The story starts out with a monster being alarmed by an on-going party, and he goes out to search where the noise is coming from. It becomes clear that Grendel is curious as to what that sound is, and tries to search for it. We get a physical description of Grendel as well. He's described to be a monster looking creature. As this section goes on, Grendel finds where the party is, and begans to intrude, ending up with 30 people being murdered. This section brings the first mentions of any characters outside of Grendel, that being Herot and Hrothgar.

The Coming of Beowulf

Beowulf becomes aware of Grendel and how powerful he can be and commanded a boat claiming he'd go to Grendel himself. Beowulf gathered his strongest soldiers whom were the strongest and mightiest out of all the Geats in order to help him defeat Grendel, which was about fourteen of them. After that, they started to sail to Hrothgar, which was where Grendel was. They soon ended up arriving where the scenary was described as "sparkling hills, high and green jutting up over the shore, and rejoicing in those rock-steep cliffs". After arriving, Hrothgar's lieutenant came riding down and asked whom these people were, in which Beowulf responded saying that they're the Geats and explained why they were there. The lieutenant let them through, as they arrived to Herot, they were called to see the king. The king explained who he was, who Grendel was and what could happen if Grendel won the battle with Beowulf.

The Battle with Grendel

Beowulf rises up from the swamp in his area, heading up to the Hereot in order to fight Beowulf and to win. As soon as Beowulf walks in there, he begins to attack the people within the area, starting off with a soldier that rips apart somebody. The next person Grendel encounters is Beowulf, which after that sparks a fight between the two, which at some point leads to multiple of Beowulf's people to participate in the fight as well in order to rid of Beowulf. It's revealed that the attacks do nothing as Beowulf set a spell on the blades for it not to harm him. The fight ends with Beowulf ripping off Grendel's arm resulting in Grendel going back to his home, and dying. The Geats nad Beowulf celebrate the win and leave the lake as they got rid of Grendel.

The Monster's Lair + The Battle With Grendel's Mother

After the defeat of Grendel, Beowulf decides to go ahead and kill Grendel's mother, who lives in what's described as a terrible and non-pleasant place. Beowulf speaks up essentially saying that the battle with Grendel's mother could possibly lead him to death. After his impromptu speech, he leaps into the lake, not waiting for anyone's answer, leaving him with the water covering him as he went further and further. After hours of sinking to the bottom, he finally gets to the bottom and stumbles upon Grendel's mother in which a fight automatically ensues. As the fight goes on, Grendel's mother seems to have a hold on Beowulf and could possibly win, as Beowulf seems to not be able to grab his weapon as she has him captured and under attack. The fight seems to catch the attention of the other creatures in the sea, but they can't attack him as the water's heat couldn't harm him, the lake itself turned into some type of fiery flame. Beowulf starts swinging his sword towards Grendel's mother in order to attack her but was soon revealed that the sword couldn't work against her. Grendel's mother bit holes into his helmet but with no effect, soon after that he gathered the strengh and threw her to the floor. After that, Grendel's mother gets back up in order to attack back. As the fighting went on and on, Beowulf ended up winning the battle. After the death of Grendel's mother, the Geats were under the belief that Beowulf ended up dying as it has been quite a bit. Beowulf soon returns, revealing that he took Grendel's head and a jeweled sword, it showed that even after death, Grendel's blood was still streaming out, and in some cases boiling. The Geats than thanked God that their leader is back and unharmed, and then left.

The Last Battle

After defeating Grendel, Beowulf becomes the king and has to go on another battle. He sends his farewells to his followers. He gives a speech about how he's not going to need weapons to fight this enemy, as he could be crushed like Grendel was. After the speech, he rises confidently towards the tower. He finds an entrance that's too hot for normal people in which he lets out a battle cry that was loud enough for the dragon to hear, which in fact awoken it, after that Beowulf got ready for battle. The dragon became closer and closer while Beowulf stood still which made his shield met and it felt like fate was fighting him, but nonetheless he struck the dragon with a swing of his blade. The blade soon then broke as the dragon's skin was too much for it, even though the blade cut and blood did begin to come out, after that it felt like Beowulf's weapon failed him as the dragon was constantly trying to attack him. It gotten to the point where his followers who came to help him all ran away but only one stayed, who happened to be Wiglaf, he's described as a good soldier and the son of Wexstan's. As the fight continues, they both defeat the dragon, but Beowulf ends up terribly wounded to the point of death. As Beowulf is dying, he asks Wiglaf to bring him the treasures that the dragon was guarding.

The Spoils

Wiglaf goes to find the treasure for Beowulf. Wiglaf begins to collect the treasures which consist of gold, gems, with cups, bracelets and rusty helmets which are all described as rotted with no one polishing them. After collecting the treasures he wanted to get, he brings them back to Beowulf as soon as possible where he found him gasping for air. Beowulf gives his last words, afterwards giving his necklace that he's weating to Wiglaf. Beowulf says one more thing to Wiglaf, and then he dies.

The Farewell

Wiglaf returns to town with Beowulf's message as they build his memorium. The remaining Geats then hold the funeral in honor of Beowulf, praising him for what he's done.

©2023, All words expressed on this page relating to any works of other people are under fair use and copyright.