Beowulf Summary


Beowulf is the longest and greatest surviving Anglo-Saxon poem. The poem is majorly concerned with the Geats, Danes and Swedes. The action is set in Scandinavia. It has two sections which depict young Beowulf's defeat of the two monsters. The other one explains the Beowulf's defeat of a fire breathing dragon. However, he is badly injured and dies.


Hrothgar, the king of Danes successful rule is symbolized by a magnificent central mead-hall called Heorot. A huge man- like ogre named Grendel terrorizes the aged Hrothgar for twelve years. Grendel loots Hrothgar's kingdom and kills his warriors. Grendel rules the mead-hall nightly. Beowulf, a young warrior comes to Hrothgars' aid to return a favour because Hrothgar had saved Beowulf's father.

He is given permission to tackle the beast. The affable offer of help demonstrates Beowulf as a true warrior. Beowulf fights Grendel when he attacks Heorot. He severely injures the demon-like creature. Grendel flees into the wilderness and succumbs to injuries. Beowulf is rewarded with valuable gifts. A grand celebration is held to credit his brevity.

Grendel's mother avenges his son. She attacks Heorot wall. The warriors wake up. She panics and flees into a nearby lake. Beowulf gives an order to Hrothgar before descending into the depths of the spirited lake to affront Grendel's mother. He bluntly jumps into the lake without response to his words. Beowulf's arrogance comes out since he openly brings out his own self-ego.He boasts of what he will do with the beast awaiting him in the depths. Beowulf attacks her and manages to kill her. His act of valour is greatly rewarded.

Finally, Beowulf returns to Geatland, all his relatives are killed in different bloodsheds. He becomes an elderly king of the Geats and rules successfully for fifty years. Unfortunately, a fierce dragon settles in his kingdom.He boastfully declares to slay the dragon. This noticeable change strikes out the great warrior aspect in Beowulf, replacing it with greed arrogance. Although, Beowulf is worn out he still manages to kill the dragon. However, he gets badly injured and dies. The Geats build a large funeral bonfire and heaps it with treasures. Once it burns down, they build a huge barrow as a monument for their fallen king.


Nothing else could better explain conclusion than the tragic death of Beowulf. However his fateful ending does not suggest that he was not a great king and a brave warrior. The Geats mourn his death and look up to the future. Without Beowulf to protect them, it's quite a dreary future.