Beowulf (hero)

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Beowulf is the hero of the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf. He was the son of Ecgþeow, a banished warrior of the Wægmundings. Ecgþeow had killed a man from another clan and had to flee to the Danes. The Danish king Hroðgar accepted him as one of his warriors. The king also paid to repay the blood feud that was threatening Ecgþeow.

When King Hroðgar came upon difficulties because his land was raided by the giant Grendel- a descendant of Cain, and cursed-, Ecgþeow's son Beowulf came to help him with twelve warriors. During the night, Grendel arrived to attack the sleeping men. Grendel gruesomely slaughtered one man before anyone awoke, but Beowulf attacked him. Beowulf had earlier decided to fight without his sword because he thought it would be shameful to fight with unequal weaponry. He, however, outmatched Grendel in strength and tore off his arm. Grendel fled back to his cave, where he died and his arm was fixed to the wall like a trophy. During the following night, Grendel's Mother arrived and Beowulf had an even harder fight against her, as she stole back her son's arm and retreated to her underwater cave. Beowulf followed her and spent a day sinking to the bottom of the lake, and they fought it out a while before Beowulf saw a sword, which conveniently was the only sword that could possibly kill Grendel's mother. He stabbed her with it, and she died. The sword dissolved and he found and beheaded Grendel's body. He brought back the head as a trophy. Beowulf was greatly rewarded for both of these feats, and he and his men were showered in glory and riches. All the gold was presented to their king, and Beowulf was rewarded with a great sword, land, a hall, and the throne of the Geats when the current king dies.

Later on in life, Beowulf ruled over his native Geatland for 50 years until a dragon attacked after a golden goblet was stolen from its cave by a slave. He travels to its cave and successfully slays it, but is severely injured in the melee. He was bitten in the neck, and the venom will kill him. The dying Beowulf then crowns a young warrior called Wiglaf as his successor (as he himself does not have children and all his predecessors have died). Wiglaf is one of the 12 soldiers he took with him to fight the dragon, but the only one who stayed when they saw he was losing. He is then burned on a pyre with all of his gold he won by slaying the dragon.

In Adaptions[change | change source]

There have been many fictional books and films made based on Beowulf. Beowulf appeared in most of them.

  • In 2007, a movie was made about Beowulf.