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Word Count: 1,681
BEOWULF Summary Beowulf begins with a history of the Danish kings starting with Shild whose funeral is described in the Prologue and leading up to the reign of King Hrothgar Shilds great-grandson Hrothgar is well loved by his people and successful in war He builds a lavish hall called Herot to house his vast army and when the hall is finished the Danish soldiers gather under its roof to celebrate Grendel a monster in human shape who lives at the bottom of a nearby swamp is provoked by the singing and carousing of Hrothgars followers He appears at the hall late one night and kills thirty of the warriors in their sleep For the next twelve years the fear of Grendels potential fury casts a shadow over the lives of the Danes Hrothgar and his advisers can think of nothing to appease the monsters anger Beowulf prince of the Geats hears about Hrothgars troubles gathers fourteen of the bravest Geat warriors and sets sail from his home in southern Sweden The Geats are greeted by the members of Hrothgars court and Beowulf boasts to the king of his previous successes as a warrior particularly his success in fighting sea monsters Hrothgar welcomes the arrival of the Geats hoping that Beowulf will live up to his reputation During the banquet that follows Beowulfs arrival Unferth a Danish soldier voices doubt about Beowulfs past accomplishments and Beowulf in turn accuses Unferth of killing brothers Before retiring for the night Hrothgar promises Beowulf great treasures if he meets with success against the monster Grendel appears on the night of the Geats arrival at Herot Beowulf true to his word wrestles the monster barehanded He tears off the monsters arm at the shoulder but Grendel escapes only to die soon afterward at the bottom of his snake-infested swamp The Danish warriors who had fled the hall in fear return
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