Bird by Bird

Beowulf – Plot Overview

King Hrothgar of Denmark, a descendant of the great king Shield Sheafson, enjoys a prosperous and successful reign. He builds a great mead-hall, called Heorot, where his warriors can gather to drink, receive gifts from their lord, and listen to stories sung by the scops, or bards. But the jubilant noise from Heorot angers Grendel, …

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Beowulf – Lines 1-300

Summary So. The Spear-Danes in days gone byand the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness. (See Important Quotations Explained) The narrator opens the poem with a discussion of Shield Sheafson, a great king of the ancient Danes and the founder of their royal line. He began life as a foundling (an infant abandoned …

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Beowulf – Lines 301-709

Summary The watchman guides Beowulf and his men from the coast to the mead-hall, Heorot, where he takes his leave. A herald named Wulfgar, who is renowned for his wisdom, stops Beowulf and asks him to state his business with Hrothgar. Beowulf introduces himself and requests to speak to the king. Wulfgar, impressed with the …

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Beowulf – Lines 710-1007

Summary Gleefully imagining the destruction that he will wreak, Grendel bursts into Heorot. He tears the door from its hinges with his bare hands and immediately devours a Geatish warrior while Beowulf carefully observes. When Grendel reaches out to snatch up Beowulf, he is stunned to find his arm gripped with greater strength than he …

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Beowulf – Lines 1008-1250

Summary Hrothgar hosts a great banquet in honor of Beowulf. He bestows upon him weapons, armor, treasure, and eight of his finest horses. He then presents Beowulf’s men with rewards and compensates the Geats with gold for the Geatish warrior that Grendel killed. After the gifts have been distributed, the king’s scop comes forward to …

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