King Hrothgar of Denmark has built a great mead-hall (Heorot) where his warriors can stay for drinking together and listen to the stories by the scops. But a terrible monster, Grendel, frightens the Danes and killing them. The menace continues for 12 years, till coming of Beowulf, a young warrior at the court of Hygelac(the king of Geats). He fights against monster in a hand-to-hand combat and hurts him mortally. The monster escapes and dies dies shortly after. Later Grendel’s mother comes to Heorot for vindicating her son. She kills Aeschere,a friend of Hrothgar.
So Beowulf travels to murky lake, where the monster lives, and kills Grendel’s mother with a giant sword. Then he finds the Grendel’s corpse, decapitates him and brings the head as a prize to Hrothgar.
Beowulf come back to Geatland. Later the king Hygelac is killed in war and ,after his son's death, Beowulf became the king of the Geats. He rules for 50 years. So when Beowulf is an old man, a thief disturbs a barrow where a dragon is guarding the treasure. the angry dragon begins to kill the Geats. Beowulf kills the dragon with the aid of Wiglaf, but he is hurt mortally. His warriors burn his body in a funeral pyre and then bury him in a barrow near the sea.
Beowulf was written in Old English and it’s the oldest epic poem in the English language.
Beowulf was probably composed as an elegy for a death of a king in 7th century. It describes a Germanic warrior society. The relationship between the leader (or king) and his thanes is based on provision and service: the thanes defend the interest of king in return of material provisions (gold, silver, food…)
This world is ruled by fate and destiny, infact it’s believed that also the Beowulf’s actions are controlled by fate.
Beowulf was a Scandinavian hero, a warrior of the tribe of the Geats. Beowulf was composed before the coming of the Northmen about 790 A.D., probably in a Christianised England. The only biblical references in Beowulf are to the Old testament. The poem is set in pagan age, neither Christ is mentioned nor the characters are Christian.
Beowulf is an epic because it talks about history of great lands and braves deeds and describes the struggles of good against evil.
Beowulf is a hero, he has an incredible strength, he fights in many battles and often returns victorious.
He kills with his bare hands the monster Grendel, he slashes the neck of Grendel’s mother with a giant’s sword.
Another peculiarity of Beowulf is to put his people welfare before his own. After Beowulf has served for 50 years his people as a king of the Geats, and before his death although he was old, he fought with a dragon that afflicted his people. Beowulf contains the typical elements of epic style, the language is elevated.