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Short Summary of Beowulf The poem begins with a brief genealogy of the Danes Scyld Shefing was the first great king of the Danes known for his ability to conquer enemies Scyld becomes the great-grandfather of Hrothgar the king of the Danes during the events of Beowulf Hrothgar like his ancestors before him is a good king and he wishes to celebrate his reign by building a grand hall called Heorot Once the hall is finished Hrothgar holds a large feast The revelry attracts the attentions of the monster Grendel who decides to attack during the night In the morning Hrothgar and his thanes discover the bloodshed and mourn the lost warriors This begins Grendels assault upon the Danes Twelve years pass Eventually the news of Grendels aggression on the Danes reaches the Geats another tribe A Geat thane Beowulf decides to help the Danes he sails to the land of the Danes with his best warriors Upon their arrival Hrothgars thane Wulfgar judges the Geats worthy enough to speak with Hrothgar Hrothgar remembers when he helped Beowulfs father Ecgtheow settle a feud thus he welcomes Beowulfs help gladly Heorot is filled once again for a large feast in honor of Beowulf During the feast a thane named Unferth tries to get into a boasting match with Beowulf by accusing him of losing a swimming contest Beowulf tells the story of his heroic victory in the contest and the company celebrates his courage During the height of the celebration the Danish queen Wealhtheow comes forth bearing the mead-cup She presents it first to Hrothgar then to the rest of the hall and finally to Beowulf As he receives the cup Beowulf tells Wealhtheow that he will kill Grendel or be killed in Heorot This simple declaration moves Wealhtheow and the Danes and the revelry continues Finally everyone retires Before he leaves Hrothgar promises to give Beowulf everything
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