Beowulf Beowulf Characters in order

Characters (in order of introduction into the poem)
Shild-        great Danish king, had a conversion, very much respected, had a son named Beo

Beo-           Danish, son of Shild,
               his „power and fame soon spread through the land‟- line 18
               became king after father‟s death, ruled as long as his father
               had a son- Healfdane

Healfdane-     a fierce fighter
               son of Beo
               had four children- Hergar, Hrothgar, Halgo the Good & daughter- Yrs, given to
                        Onela, King of Swedes

Yrs-           Healfdane‟s daughter, given to Onela, King of Swedes
               became his wife and queen

Hrothgar-      took the throne
               led Danes to glory
               built Herot, the palace

Grendel-       the monster
               he waits until night to attack Herot, unmerciful, kills everyone
               He is „conceived by a pair of those monsters born of Cain, murderous creatures
               banished by God, punished forever for the crime of Abel‟s death‟- line 110.

Beowulf-       hero of the poem
               a Geat
               don‟t confuse him with the DANISH Beo mentioned early in the poem during the
               discussion of Danish royal lineage.

Wulfgar-       a prince born to the Swedes
               famous for strength, wisdom, questions who Beowulf is.

Edgethro       name of Beowulf‟s father

Eclaf-         one of Hrothgar‟s courtiers

Unferth -      son of Unferth, question‟s that Beowulf can defeat Grendel

Brecca-        the childhood friend and companion with whom Beowulf has the swimming

Welthow-       wife of Hrothgar, queen

Siegmund-      an ancient hero
               worked with Fitla
               most famous for when he was old and killed the dragon by himself

Fitla-         nephew of Siegmund
               worked with him in battle

Hermod-        Danish King
               used to contrast with Beowulf
               oppressed his people

Hnaf-          a Danish King, killed by Finn, his sister was Finn‟s wife
Hildeburh-     Finn‟s queen

Hengest-       a Danish warrior
               Hnaf‟s chief lieutenant, Hnaf‟s successor

Hrothulf-      Halga‟s son, Hrothgar‟s nephew
               Welthow invokes the spirits of good will prevailing at the Danish court, and
               predicts that Hrothulf will guard her two sons.

Esher-         a Danish nobleman, high in councils of King Hrothgar
               Hrothgar‟s close and trusted friend.
               Killed by Grendel‟s mother.

Harath-        Higd‟s father, a prosperous man of standing

Harath‟s daughter- Higd-     Higlac‟s wife, Hareths‟s daughter
               name means “thoughtful, prudent”

Thrith-        Offa‟s wife
               haughty, violent (tamed by husband)

Offa-          a king of the Angles (those of home did not migrate to England)
               Husband and tamer of Thrith.

Emer-          son of Offa

Ongentho-      Swedish king
               mighty in battle
               in the fighting that followed Hrethel‟s death, Ongentho first killed Hathcyn (the
               Geat‟s king) then was himself killed by another group of Geats.
               Also- Onela‟s father.

Freaw-         a Danish princess
               Hrothgar‟s daughter
               given in marriage to Ingeld, a Harthobard prince, in hopes of settling a feud

Ingeld-        a prince of the Hathobards
               Froda‟s son
               Married to Freaw

Herdred-       Higlac‟s son
               not that long of a rule
               died at the hands of the Swedes, then Beowulf took over

Hrethel-       A king of the Geats
               father of Higlac and grandfather of Beowulf.

Herbald-       A prince of the Geats and Hrethel‟s oldest son.
               killed by Hathcyn

Hathcyn-       A king of the Geats, Hrethel‟s second son
               takes the throne after accidentally killing his older brother, Herbald.
               he is eventually killed by Ongentho, king of the Swedes, in a war in which
               Ongentho is killed by a second band of Geats, led by Higlac.

Efor-          Geat warrior who kills the Swedish king named Ongentho
                  given Higlac‟s daughter as a reward.

Wiglaf-           A Geat warrior who is also somehow related to Beowulf. Son of Wexstan, he is
                  thought to be partially Swedish
                  He travels with Beowulf when he fights the dragon, and is the only one of
                  Beowulf‟s band who comes to his aid during the battle.
                  He becomes king presumably after Beowulf‟s death.

Wexstan-          Father of Wiglaf and somehow related to Beowulf

Wulf-             A warrior, a Geat and brother to Efor.

Chapter Summaries
        Shild a Dane, great king, had a conversion. First he made slaves of soldiers, and then
        he changed his own fate. He lived to be rich and much honored, and ruled lands
        everywhere. Soldiers obeyed and respected him. He had a son named Beo as famous
        as his father, respected, well-liked.

          Shild died, and after his long successful reign, Danish were devastated.
          They made a sort of funeral ship- (think- Indians in canoes in trees?)- and set him adrift
          with treasures, jeweled helmets, hooked swords, coats of mail, armor.

          Danish people= sad now- but never fear…

          Beo is here! Became king after his fathers death, ruled as long as his father did. He had
          a son named the great Healfdane, who was a fierce fighter and led the Dane‟s well.

          Healfdane- 3 sons, 1 daughter- Hergar, Hrothgar, Halgo the Good & daughter- Yrs

          After Healfdane‟s rule ends, Hrothgar takes over. He is an EVEN BETTER military leader
          than his father, and the Danes „swore by his sword‟- line 66.

          Hrothgar, however, was not just satisfied with military strength. He wanted a hall, a hall
          that would reach towards heaven where he could divide the stuff won in war (aka brag
          about how great he was)

          Herot- was very quickly ready, beautiful, wonderful, and too good to be true (kind of like
          Tower of Babel?) Hrothgar commanded a banquet.

          LITTLE DOES HE KNOW THAT….under the hall, in darkness waits a powerful monster,
          just waiting to attack. This monster‟s name is Grendel. He is „conceived by a pair of
          those monsters born of Cain, murderous creatures banished by God, punished forever for
          the crime of Abel‟s death‟- line 110.
          Grendel‟s getting a little impatient and annoyed by all the music and happiness, so he
          decides to do something about


          Darkness falls, and Grendel is angry. He goes up to Herot, wondering what the warriors
          would do, and finds them drunk and asleep.

          The monsters thoughts were „quick as greed or his claws‟ and he kills 30 of them while
          sleeping. He went home, delighted with the slaughter of the day.
    Hrothgar- devastated, mourns loss of friends and companions, feared beginning may not
    be the end

    That night, Grendel visits again- no one can escape him. The only survivors were those
    who ran away. Herot was eventually deserted for years- “twelve winters of grief for
    Hrothgar”- line 148

    Word got around about Grendel and how cruel he was, how much he loved killing Danes.
    He killed as often as he could, lived in Herot, when the night hid him, however, he never
    DARED to tough Hrothgar‟s throne. It was protected by God, “whose love Grendel could
    not know”- line 170

    His council debated, no one knew what to do, they were all scared and upset.


    Setting- land of the Geats. Beowulf, the hero, enters. He has heard about the sorrow
    of Hrothgar, and decides to help.

    He rounds up the mightiest men of all in the lands of the Geats- there are 14 of them all
    together. Beowulf apparently is quite a sailor, and „knew the sea‟- line 209

    They arrive- get quietly off the boat, go onto shore and….

    Hrothgar‟s lieutenant, spurring his horse, needed to know why these men in armor had
    landed. “Speak, say exactly who you are, and from where, and why.”- line 255

    Beowulf answers that they are Geats, “men who follow Higlac”, his father was a famous
    soldier named Edgetho.
    He says that they have come seeking Healfdane‟s son- Hrothgar- only in friendship-
    they‟ve come to the rescue! He talks of how he‟s heard of Grendel, and Beowulf vows to
    get rid of him.

    The officer answers that he believes them, and that they may continue into Denmark.
    He says that he will guide Beowulf himself, and that his men wil guard the ship.

    Officer- „now I must leave you: may the Lord our God protect your coming and going!”-
    line 316- after leading them to Herot.


    The path to the hall was paved and cobbled like a Roman road. Beowulf and Co. arrived
    with all their armor on, ready to go…then they decide to just sit down and take a rest in
    the hall.

    Wulfgar- a prince born to the Swedes, famous for strength, wisdom, questions who
    Beowulf is. Beowulf answers proudly, and Wulfgar promises to relay the message to

    Wulfgar feels pretty important and excited about this, and is enthusiastic, calling them a
    „gracious answer‟- line 366

    Wulfar approaches Hrothgar, old and gray, surrounded by a group of earls. Wulfgar
    talks of the worthy appearance of Beowulf and his men, showing admiration for their war
    Hrothgar tells Wulfgar that he knew Beowulf as a child, and identifies him as son of
    Edgethro, who was given Hrethel‟s one daughter in marriage. He acknowledges
    Beowulf‟s heroic reputation and talks about a report that Beowulf has the strength of 30
    men in the grip of his hand.

    Hrothgar- feels God has sent Beowulf, dispatches his messenger to bring Beowulf
    forward for the king‟s welcome.

    Beowulf goes and talks about how he‟s a man of honor and daring deeds, and how he
    has experience in combat against water-monsters. He too talks of this mighty grip of the
    hand that he seems to possess. He says he‟ll fight Grendel, and adds who that death
    takes would have to trust in God‟s judgment.”

    Beowulf then gives a lovely speech about what to do if he dies.
           Send mail of armor to Higlac,
           Return inheritance he had from Hrethel
    He ends with “Fate will unwind as it must!” Line 455


    Hrothgar begins to talk to Beowulf. He describes his relationship with Beowulf‟s father,
    and talks of how he bought the end of his quarrel and helped him.

    He then moves on to pertinent topics, like Grendel. He talks of the damage he‟s done,
    the lives he‟s claimed. He says that many brave warriors have claimed after a little too
    much to drink that they can rid the hall of Grendel, but all have perished. “Blood stained

    Hrothgar ends the whole speech by inviting Beowulf to sit down at a banquet. The
    welcoming celebration begins with the passing of the ale cup to the guests. There is joy
    in Herot.
    “Danes and visiting Geats celebrated as one, drank and rejoiced.”- Line 497


    Unferth, the son of Eclaf, question‟s that Beowulf can defeat Grendel. He was upset by
    Beowulf‟s courage and angry that someone was better than him. He asks if Beowulf is
    the “same boastful fool who fought a swimming match with Brecca (a friend of
    Beowulf‟s when he was young)” Line 506. He accuses Beowulf of pride, and says that
    Beowulf did not REALLY win the match with Brecca. He says that Beowulf has been
    lucky so far, but this battle with Grendel might be pushing his luck.

    Beowulf answered that Unferth was drunk. He says he stayed with Brecca until a flood
    swept them apart, and says that he was close to death and a sea-monster tried to attack
    him. Beowulf claims to have left this monster “floating lifeless in the sea”- line 556.


    Beowulf continues to recount his adventures with the sea-monsters. He says that they
    continued to try to fight and crowd around him, and that he killed nine sea monsters in
    total. He asks “What man, anywhere under Heaven‟s high arch, has fought in such
    darkness, endured more misery, or been harder pressed?”- line 576

    He then points out how there are no tales of Unferth telling of terror, tough fights,
    clashes in the night. The only story Unferth has is how he killed his own brother. He
     then says that if Unferth was as high and mighty as he makes himself out to be, no
     monster would even DARE cross on their hall (Herot and Grendel)

     Beowulf- he‟s going to get rid of Grendel for “Geatish Honor”
     Things turn to a happier note, and there is all of the sudden more laughter and fun at
     the hall. A noble women (unnamed) gave a toast to Beowulf. Welthow, the queen,
     salutes Beowulf and thanks God for answering her prayers. Beowulf repeats his
     determination to kill Grendel or die trying. The queen is happy he‟s so determined, so
     she goes to sit with her husband.

     The feast goes on. These people like to drink and be merry. Something tells me it‟s part
     of the culture. It‟s also getting annoying.

     Hrothgar gets up and says he is going to go to bedwishes Beowulf luck, promises
     treasures if Herot will be safe.


     Hrothgar leaves the hall, followed by his court.

     It was said that God himself had brought Beowulf as a guard against Grendel and shield
     behind whom the king could safely rest- line 665.

     Beowulf is ready- takes off armor. He will meet Grendel with empty hands.

     IMPORTANT QUOTE: “Let God in His wisdom extend His hand where HE wills, reward
     whom He chooses! - line 685

     Beowulf decided to lie down. Everyone was sure he would be dead by morning. But
     God‟s loom (aka plan?) was woven with defeat for the monster, good fortune for the

     Beowulf lay, watchful, waiting, eager to meet his enemy and angry at the thought of his


     Insert really scary, suspenseful music here. (part III, The Storm perhaps?)

     Grendel emerges from the marsh!! All but one (Beowulf) of the men are sleeping. The
     author mentions that no demon can take men if God does not will it. Grendel is hoping
     to kill. However, upon arrival, he finds that opposition waits. Human eyes were
     watching his every move. Beowulf watches as Grendel grabs a sleeping man, bites his
     bones, drinks his blood and gobbles him up. Then, Grendel grabs Beowulf!

     Grendel is instantly seized himself. His claws bend back, he is flooded with fear! No one
     has ever done this before. Grendel‟s first instinct is to go run back to the marsh and
     hide. Beowulf stops him, cracked his claws, clutches him closer. It was a good thing
     Herot was so sturdily built- it was shaking and rattling b/c of the fight inside.

     Suddenly, screams of terror come from Herot. This is Grendel. He is captive “of him
     who of all the men on earth was the strongest”- line 789.


     Beowulf meant to hold Grendel until his life left him. Grendel‟s time had come, his days
     were over. He knew “what it meant to feud with the Almighty God”- line 810. Grendel‟s
     hatred- higher, Grendel‟s power- gone. His arm broke off. Lovely description given on
     page 49, top. The battle was over, Beowulf had one. Grendel escaped to his den and
     died a few days later.

     The Dane‟s laughed with delight. They hung the arm on rafters- arm, claw, shoulder and


     In the morning, many warriors see the arm. They follow his bloody footprints to the
     marsh. No one feels bad or upset at all. Basically, they thought that Grendel deserved
     to go to Hell.

     Stories of Beowulf‟s bravery were spread throughout the land. They swore that no
     where was there a better warrior than Beowulf. Poets even started making up stories
     about Beowulf.

     Flash to a story-inside-the-story
            Siegmund and his nephew Fitla were comrades in battle. They killed giants.
            Later, when Siegmund was old, he was in a battle w/o Fitla, and he killed a
            dragon. He was most famous for this. He ended up pinning the dragon to a
            wall w/ his sword. his courage and strength earned him a kinglike value.
            Hermod (Danish king who oppresses his people because “sin took possession of
            him”- woven into this story as well.) Hermod is a contrast to Siegmund- he
            WASN‟T famous. He was at some point mighty, but a combination of pride,
            defeat, betrayal sent him into exile with the Jutes. They killed him.

             Beowulf is a contrast to Hermod, because Beowulf is “well-loved, followed in
             friendship, not fear” and “Hermod‟s heart had been hollowed by sin.”- line 913.

     Beowulf received a very warm welcome by the king, queen, court, etc.


     Hrothgar stares at Grendel‟s claw from the top of the stairway. “Let God be thanked!
     Grendel‟s terrible anger hung over our heads too long, dropping down misery; but the
     Almighty makes miracles”- line 926.

     He attributes a lot of Beowulf‟s success to God. He gives a long drawn out speech, in it
     covers:          ~troubles with Grendel
                      ~God‟s grace
                      ~praises Beowulf
                      ~expresses for him love of a father for a son
     Then it‟s time for Beowulf‟s long drawn out speech.
                      ~regret- not being able to display Grendel‟s WHOLE body
                      ~refers to God a few times
                      ~fought the good fight
              NOTE: Unferth is silent during this part. This is basically a big „HAHA I‟m better
              than you‟ from Beowulf.


     The king ordered Herot cleaned and hung with decorations, hurried to make hall ready
     The hall was severely damaged from the Monster From Hell (aka Grendel.)

     Hrothgar drinks mead cups. Herot is filled with lots of friends. Big part.
     Beowulf given gifts:
     Hrothgar gives him-       gold banner, helmet, coat of mail, sword, 8 horses (one with a
             jeweled saddle)
     God‟s role in the victory is mentioned again.


     Hrothgar also ordered gifts for every Geat who had sailed with Beowulf
             ancient armor and swords, for the one murdered by Grendel, gold was carefully
     Hrothgar‟s hall was full of happiness- songs, laughter, telling of tales and stories by the
     The court poet told them a story of Finn, the Frisan.
             Hneaf, a Dane, died in battle against the Frisians, and his sister, Hildeburh,
             married to the Frisian leader Finn had no cause to have good faith of the Frisians
             because she had lost both her son and her brother. Hildeburh requested that
             her son be placed on the funeral pyre next to his uncle, and she mourned her
             losses among both Danes and Frisians. The poet finished the funeral scene by
             describing the flaming pyre with heads melting, wounds bursting open, and
             blood springing forth.
             Due to ice, the surviving Danes spent the winter in Friesland with Finn. They
             were led by Hengest. Then spring came, and Hengest turned his thoughts to
             revenge. He decided to fight. The Danes killed Finn in his own homeland, took
             home his treasures, and even captured his queen, Hildeburh.


     The poet finished, and people laughed and drank.
     Welthow appears, came to Hrothgar and Hrothulf (the narrator points out that they sat
     peacefully together, friendship and good faith still unbroken)
     Unfurth sat at Hrothgar‟s feet and everyone trusted him even though (as mentioned
     before) he had killed a relative.
     Welthow goes in front of Hrothgar and bids him to pay tribute to the Geats, and Beowulf.
     He hopes that Hrothulf, nephew of Hrothgar and herself, will show appreciation to them
     for past kindnesses by being kind in the future to their sons, his cousins Hrethric and


     They brought a foaming drink to Beowulf, taken and given in friendship.
     MORE PRESENTS!            a mail shirt, golden armbands, necklace
     Welthow- “Wear these bright jewels, beloved Beowulf; enjoy them, and the rings, and
     the gold, oh fortunate young warrior; grow richer, let your fame and your strength go
     hand in hand and lend these two boys your wise and gentle heart! I‟ll remember your
     kindness. Your glory is too great to forget: it will last forever” Line 1216
     After nightfall, many soldiers fell asleep in Herot. They slept with their shields, helmets,
     spears, mail shirts.
              “It was the Danes‟ custom to be ready for war, wherever they rested, at home or
              in foreign lands, at their lord‟s quick call if he needed them, if trouble came to
              their king. They knew how soldiers must live!” Line 1246


     They fell asleep.
     The poet says that one Dane was going to die, paying as others had paid while Grendel
     was alive.
     Now it was known that although one monster had died, another lived- GRENDEL‟S MOM!
     She had been hanging out in a murky cold lake all this time that had been assigned to
     her when Cain killed Abel.
     Grendel‟s mom‟s sad heart and greed drove her from her den on the dangerous pathway
     of revenge.
     She got to Herot. Her visit „ended their good fortune‟- line 1281
     “No female, no matter how fierce, could have come with a man‟s strength”- line 1282
     To save her life she moved quickly, killing only one man- Hrothgar‟s closest friend-
     Esher. She also took Grendel‟s claw. Souvenir, perhaps?
     Beowulf was sent for at once.


     Beowulf comes and asks what the problem is, Hrothgar replies that his best friend has
     been killed.
     He explains that his countrymen have reported occasionally seeing a female monster
     near an eerie pool not to far from the hall.
     He promises Beowulf extra treasure if he can seek out and destroy her in her dwelling


     Beowulf says that he has it under control, and pledges himself to the destruction of
     Grendel‟s mother, and Hrothgar thanks God for Beowulf.

     Hrothgar‟s horse was brought for Beowulf. They (Beowulf and some Danes) get to the
     lake, and see Esher‟s bloody head. They look in the bloody water and see sea serpents.
     Beowulf kills one, and then begins to put on his armor and accepts and ancient sword
     named Hrunting from Unferth.

     Only Beowulf would risk his life in that lake, Unferth was afraid.
     Beowulf stands ready to dive into battle.


     Beowulf speaks to Hrothgar-       if Grendel‟s mom should end his life, then be father and
                                               protector of all whom he leave behind
                                       send the precious gifts to Higlac, the Geats‟ great lord
                                       gives sword to Unferth
     He jumps into the lake, but hours pass before he sees bottom. At last he saw Grendel‟s
     mom. She grabs him and carries him to a hall where he cannot be attacked. He swings
     Unferth‟s sword at her, but she cannot be attacked. “no sword could slice her evil skin”-
     line 1522.
     She tries to stab him, but the knife won‟t go through the mail he is wearing.


     Beowulf gets back up, sees hanging on the wall a heavy sword, made by giants, and
     blessed with their magic.
     He cuts through her neck, kills her.
     On land, the Danes lose hope when they see blood well up from the depths. Sure that
     their champion is lost, they return to Herot in sorrow. Only the small band of Geats,
     Beowulf‟s kinsmen, waits on.

     Back in the monster‟s court, the blade of the giant‟s sword begins to melt, burned by
     Grendel‟s fiery blood. Beowulf seizes its hilt, which remains solid and, grasping Grendel‟s
     head in his other hand, swims for the surface. He finds that the waters he passes
        through are no longer infested now that the demon has been destroyed. When he breaks
        the surface, the Geats are overjoyed as they advance to meet him and unfasten his


        Beowulf- tells of how he almost died, how God helped him, promises Hrothgar that
        ANYONE can sleep in Herot and be safe
        Then he gave the sword hilt to Hrothgar. Apparently, this sword had belonged to a wise
        ruler of the Danes. Stories had been engraved into it, and it was a really ancient relic.
        Hrothgar says that Beowulf‟s fame reaches to the end of the earth, he praises Beowulf


        Hrothgar praises Beowulf‟s goodness, evenness, and loyalty, contrasts him with the evil
        King Heremod, and predicts a great future for him. He delivers a long speech about how
        to be a good and wise ruler by choosing eternal rather than earthly rewards. Hrothgar
        then promises to shower Beowulf with treasure the following morning.

        Another banquet ensues, with great feasting.
        Afterward, Beowulf retires to get some much-needed rest.
        Unferth gives Beowulf Hrunting, the sword.


        Beowulf gives a whole speech saying that although it was a nice visit, he should leave
        Hrothgar praises Beowulf again, saying that he has united the Geats and the Danes in
        ties of friendship and loyalty.

        He presents Beowulf with twelve treasures.
        Despite his urgings that Beowulf return to Denmark soon, Hrothgar knows that he will
        never see Beowulf again.
        The Geats return to the coast (Beowulf- lots of treasures, piled high, wearing golden
        armor) where they grant a reward to the watchman who has guarded their ship.


        They then sail back to Geatland and return to the hall of Hygelac.
        Beowulf and his men return to the magnificent hall of King Hygelac and to queen Higd,
        who is beautiful and wise, though very young. (comparison of Higd and Thrith)

        The narrator tells the story of the legendary Queen Thrith , who “perpetrated terrible
        wrongs” against her subjects, torturing and even killing many innocent people whom she
        imagined were offending her. Thrith „s behavior improved, we are told, once she was
        married to the great King of the Angles, Offa. Emer was his son.


        Beowulf and his men go walking down the shore. It was short walk from their ship to
        Higlac‟s home, to the hall where their king, Ongentho’s killer.
        He went with his warriors, gave his treasures away. The young men knew they were
        back, and had safely come home. Now, they wanted to see them and greet them again.
        When they arrived at the court, Beowulf bowed to his lord and mead cups were filled.
        Harath’s daughter took them through the hall and carried ale to her husband‟s
        Higlac began to question him, courteous, but eager to know everything. He thanks God
        for Beowulf‟s safe return, but frankly admits that Beowulf shouldn‟t have gone in the first


        Beowulf describes the Danish court, especially the hospitable Wealthow and her daughter
        Freaw, passing through the hall and offering the mead cup to men.
        Mention of Freaw reminds Beowulf that Hrothgar promised Freaw in marriage to Ingeld
        (of the Hathobards- who the Danes have been feuding with) This will settle the feud.
        Beowulf predicts trouble for the newlyweds, if someone tries to revive the feud.
        Beowulf fears nothing good will come of this arrangement.


        Beowulf tells of how he killed Grendel.
        “When the sun had returned, the Danes‟ great king poured out treasure, repaid me for
        the bloody battle I‟d fought in his name.” Line 2101
                Also tells of a feast with songs, telling of tales, just a grand old time.
        Darkness fell again, and Grendel‟s mom came (this is Beowulf telling of his adventure)
                tells of how upset Hrothgar was, why Beowulf had to step in
        “And the Danes‟ protector, Healfdane‟s great son, heaped me up with treasures and
        precious jewels.” (line 2143)


        Beowulf tells of and praises the generosity and kindness of King Hrothgar. Hrothgar had
        opened his store of treasures to Beowulf to choose what Beowulf wanted to bring the
        Beowulf had brought his king horses and treasure. He also pledged his loyalty to the
        We learn that Higlac and Beowulf are cousins and friends.
                rely on each other in peace and war
        Beowulf gives Higd Welthow‟s gift of a necklace and three horses.
        Beowulf has proven himself, did as „any famous soldier must do.‟
                we learn that he was not liked or favored by any Geats as a child
                they thought he was lazy and dumb
                finally he became a warrior and now they respect him
        Higlac gives Beowulf‟s grandfather‟s sword.
        A while later, Higlac dies. His son, Herdred, ruled for a while. The Swedes killed him.
        Then Beowulf ruled the Geats for more than 50 winters, with wisdom and justice.
        A dragon, who had been sleeping in a hidden tower, awoke in Geatland. because a man
        had went in to steal something from his tower. (smart guy. he just made this story 10
        chapters longer for me.)


        The slave had not come to steal beacsue he wanted to, but because he needed to.
                he was someone‟s slave
                had been beaten
                found the hidden tower
                took a jewel-studded gold cup and ran
        The poet tells us the history of the treasure
                left in ancient times at the end of the dynasty
                a king buried the treasure in a stone tower
                gold and treasure should not be left unused, and a dragon came to guard it
        The dragon follows the tracks of the slave who roused it. He wants revenge; his greed
        will cause war and death. He waits until night.
        “The people suffered, everyone lived in terror, but when Beowulf had learned of their
        trouble his fate was worse, and came quickly.”


        The dragon, with its deadly fire-breathing skills, destroys everything (homes, land, etc.)
        in Geatland.
        It destroys Beowulf‟s hall and throne.
                 Everyone is sad.
                 Beowulf accuses himself of breaking God‟s law and bringing the Almighty‟s anger
                 on his people.
        Beowulf is super old, but he‟s still a warrior. He begins to plan his revenge for the
        dragon‟s rage. He makes a big iron shield. The poet tells us in advance that this battle
        will be Beowulf‟s last, and it will end in both him and the dragon‟s death.
        Beowulf‟s is a little full of himself and thinks that he killed Grendel, and his mother, and
        fought in wars, and didn‟t want other soldiers to go- he thought he could take the dragon


        Beowulf- story time!!! He remembers his king‟s sorrowful story.
                 Hrethel’s son, Herbald, was killed by his brother Hathcyn. The death was an
                 accident- mistake on a hunting trip. (Apparently Herbald looked like a deer or
                 Hrethel was super upset, and he felt no sympathy for Hathcyn. When Hrethel
                 had died, his 2 younger sons inherited all his treasures and the kingdom  war
                 between the Swedes and Geats, as a response to Hrethel‟s death. Hathcyn, now
                 king of Geats, will killed by a Swede. Higlac‟s soldiers avenged this death, and
                 Efor cracked open the Swedish king‟s skull.
        Beowulf speaks next of Higlac's death, of how he crushed the man who had killed Higlac
        with his bare hands. He justifies his use of a sword in his duel with the dragon; he 'shall
        fight with both hand and sword.' Beowulf needs the iron shield to protect himself from
        the dragon's burning breath.
        Beowulf prepares for battle, declaring the treasure kept by the dragon will be his when
        the monster is dead. He enters the arching hall, and gives a battle-cry. Hearing it, the
        dragon, thirsty for blood, attacks, breathing fire and smoke upon Beowulf. The iron
        shield at first holds, but then begins to melt, a sign that fate is against Beowulf. Beowulf
        strikes at the dragon with his sword, piercing its skin, and drawing blood. The sword
        breaks under the weight.
        Unwilling to leave this world for eternal darkness, Beowulf fights on.
        Falling back, the dragon envelopes Beowulf in a swirl of flames, while all his brave
        followers run for the woods - all save one: Wiglaf.


        Wiglaf, son of Wexstan, stays by Beowulf's side, raising his yellow sword and shield,
        weapons once belonging to Onela's nephew which his father had won and later given to
        him. Both sword and soul strong, he speaks for all, remembering his Lord's graciousness,
        and how his comrades had once pledged loyalty and now ran off like traitors. He shouts:

                "He took us/ For soldiers, for men. He meant to kill/ This monster himself, our
                mighty king,
     Wiglaf dives through the ravaging flames, screaming his Lord's name, distracting the
     dragon by jumping under Beowulf's shield. The warrior Beowulf strikes the dragon with
     the last of his strength; Nagling smashes the dragon's head. The sword breaks to pieces
     in Beowulf's hands, the dragon spews fire at him, and drives its tusks deep into Beowulf's


     It was then that Beowulf needed Wiglaf most. Wiglaf shows his courage and devotion.

     Wiglaf stabs the dragon low in its body, in an effort to kill it and stop the hideous flames
     burning his master's body. The flames fade off as the dragon dies. Beowulf knifes the
     dragon in half, mustering the last of his strength. Split apart, it falls, blood seeping into the
     ground and over the gold. Beowulf's wounds are too much; death is near, his neck
     stinging from the dragon's venom. Beowulf drops to the ground and good Wiglaf bathes
     his wounds with water. Beowulf speaks to Wiglaf, entreating him to gather the dragon's
     gold at his feet before he dies.

     He says “Hurry, bring me ancient silver, precious jewels, shinging armor and gems,
     before I die. Death will be softer, leaving life and this people I’ve ruled so long, if I look at
     this last of all prizes.”


     Wiglaf enters the dragon's tower quickly, seeking and carrying out as much treasure,
     ancient helmets, and gold as possible before his Lord dies. The interior of the castle is lit
     by a brilliant light, which brightens the gray stones and signifies the goodness of their
     partnership in killing the dragon. Wiglaf brings the treasure to Beowulf to soften his
     death. Beowulf is gasping for breath. The treasure has been won, and he sprinkles
     more water over his King.

     Beowulf- “I thank our Father in Heaven, Ruler of the Earth- for all of this, that His grace
     has given me, allowed me to bring to my people while breath still came to my lips. I sold
     my life for this treasure, and I sold it wall. Take what I leave, Wiglaf, lead my people,
     help them; my time is gone.”

     He tells Wiglaf to lead the Geats.

     He asks Wiglaf to build a monument, a tomb where King Beowulf's ashes will be buried,
     a high tower over the old one, so sailors will see it and speak of it forevermore. Then
     Beowulf gives forth his golden necklace, helmet, rings, and mail to the future king and

     "The old man's mouth was silent, spoke/ No more, had said as much as it could; He
     would sleep in the fire, soon. His soul/ Left his flesh, flew to glory."


     Wiglaf looks at his Lord, now dead, and the hideous dragon, split in two by his hand,
     lying nearby.

      The Geats who had run away, abandoned Beowulf and then Wiglaf when terror struck,
     come from the trees toward Wiglaf, waiting for him to speak. Wiglaf speaks to them
        harshly, saying how Beowulf had trusted in their word, gave them weapons and
        treasures, a hall, and mead.

        He tells of how they ran with fear when the dragon attacked Beowulf. Wiglaf had only
        done a small thing: he distracted the dragon just long enough to give Beowulf time to kill

        He declares that no more treasure will be given to them, there will be no more ring
        giving. When the other Geats discover their cowardice, they and their family will forever
        be disgraced, worthy only of death.


        The messenger tells the history of war between the Geats and the Swedes. Ongentho,
        when he heard of Higlac's strength and reputation, withdrew his men into the forest,
        away from the Geats. But the Geats had no mercy for Ongentho, and invaded the army,
        and Wulf (of the Geats) cracked the Swedish King's helmet and skull. Ongentho
        wounded Wulf in the helmet as well, but his brave brother, Efor, killed Ongentho with
        one blow of his massive sword. Wulf was bandaged, and the Geats praised the brave
        Efor, who was given Higlac's only daughter, gold, and land.

        The messenger's story speaks of the horrors that will come with Beowulf's death; the
        Geats will surely be attacked. He speaks of how the dragon's jewels will be burnt on
        Beowulf's funeral pyre, and the rest will be buried in the tower built in the King's name,
        to greet the sea. Sadness will descend throughout Geatland for their loss. The warriors
        walk to where Beowulf lay, and see the dragon:


        Wiglaf speaks of Beowulf, and how his bravery and desire for gold cost him his life. He
        leads the Geats to the tower, where the wealthiest of Geats gather the dragon's treasure
        in their arms, and carry it to Beowulf's pyre. The best of helmets, gold and mail are
        placed on the pyre, and the fire grows, enveloping the great King. Wiglaf and his men
        roll the dragon off the cliff, and into the ocean. The smoke billows from Beowulf's pyre,
        and the brave Geats watch in sorrow as he is swallowed by Heaven. Then:

        "For ten long days they made his monument,/ Sealed his ashes in walls as straight/ And
        high as wise and willing hands could raise them.../And the treasures they'd taken were
        left there too,/ ...Ground back in the earth." pg. 121

        The warriors, Geats and Wiglaf, sing their praises high and loud; no nobler life on earth
        was had among men. The best of the Geats ride around Beowulf's tower on horseback,
        singing stories for all, of a wise and brave King had once lived named Beowulf.


   -    a few lines were taken from This is not the Raffel
        translation, and I tried to correct any errors I saw.
   -    the last third is mostly from This IS
        the Raffel translation, and I mostly cut and paste because my notes would have been the
        same thing. In cases where I felt more detail should be added, I put it in, but this was a
        REALLY good site. I probably will read all of the notes from this site in case they are
        more through then my own.