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Beowulf is an Old English epic poem consisting of 3,182 lines.

- Is the longest and greatest surviving Anglo-Saxon poem.


- Is the oldest surviving epic in English literature.

SUMMARY
In the poem, Beowulf, a warrior from Geats comes to the rescue of Hrothgar, the
king of the Danes whose land is being attacked by a monster, Grendel. Beowulf
succeeds and defeats Grendel. To show his powers, he even kills Grendel with his bare
hands. However, the tension of the story escalates, because Grendel's mother is now
on the warpath to get revenge. As the story progresses, Beowulf kills Grendel's mother
in her liar with a sword that giants of a past time once used.
After this victory, Beowulf returns home to Geats. Fifty years pass. However,
there is one final battle. There is a dragon that plagues his people because of stolen
treasure. More importantly, Beowulf now has to defend his people. He fails at first, but
then with the help of Wiglaf, a servant, chases the dragon into its lair and kills it.
However, in the process, Beowulf receives a fatal wound and dies. Finally, he is buried
by the sea.

PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS
Beowulf - The protagonist of the epic, Beowulf is a Geatish hero who fights the monster
Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and a fire-breathing dragon. Beowulf’s boasts and
encounters reveal him to be the strongest, ablest warrior around. In his youth, he
personifies all of the best values of the heroic culture. In his old age, he proves a wise
and effective ruler.
King Hrothgar - The king of the Danes. Hrothgar enjoys military success and prosperity
until Grendel terrorizes his realm. A wise and aged ruler, Hrothgar represents a different
kind of leadership from that exhibited by the youthful warrior Beowulf. He is a father
figure to Beowulf and a model for the kind of king that Beowulf becomes.
Grendel - A demon descended from Cain, Grendel preys on Hrothgar’s warriors in the
king’s mead-hall. Because his ruthless and miserable existence is part of the retribution
exacted by God for Cain’s murder of Abel.
The Dragon - An ancient, powerful serpent, the dragon guards a horde of treasure in a
hidden mound. Beowulf’s fight with the dragon constitutes the third and final part of the
epic.
SETTING OF THE STORY
It's actually set several hundred years earlier, in the 5th or 6th Century. And it doesn't
take place in England. So, if someone asks you what the setting of Beowulf is, you can
tell them that it's 5th or 6th Century Scandinavia. (Scandinavia is the part of Europe that
includes Sweden and Denmark.)
ANGLO-SAXON LITERATURE/ OLD ENGLISH LITERATURE
REPORTED BY:
Edlorie Aliana F. Santo Domingo
BSE III-A English