Simple Summaries



Simple Summary by Sarah Frank

Here are some of the important people, monsters, and places that appear in Beowulf or are mentioned in the story:

·       Beowulf: a Geat, son of Edgetho and nephew of Higlac, king of the Geats.

·       Higlac is Beowulf's feudal lord, as well as his uncle.

·       Brecca: chief of a tribe called Brondings and a friend of Beowulf.

·       Grendel :a man-eating monster who lives at the bottom of a foul mere, or mountain lake. His name might be related to the old Norse grindill, meaning "storm,"or grenja, "to bellow."

·       Herot: the golden guest-hall built by King Hrothgar, the Danish ruler. It was decorated with the antlers of stags; the name means "hart [stag]hall." Scholars think Herot might have been built near Lejre on the coast of Zealand, in Denmark.

·       Hrothgar: king of the Danes, builder of Herot. He had once befriended Beowulf's father. His father was called Healfdane (which probably means "half Dane"). Hrothgar's name might mean "glory spear" or "spear of triumph."

·       Unferth: one of Hrothgar's courtiers, who is reputed to be a skilled warrior. His sword called Hrunting, is used by Beowulf in a later battle.

·       Welthow: Hrothgar's wife, queen of the Danes.

·       Wiglaf: a Geat warrior, one of Beowulf's select band, and the only one to help him in his final fight with the dragon. Wiglaf might be related to Beowulf.


Character intros

·       Shild is Rothgard’s great grandfather, one of the first king of the Danes

o  “Lived to be rich and much honored.”

·       Beo: Shild’s son

o  “Whose power and fame soon spread through the world”

·       Healfdane :fierce fighter, Beo’s son

o  “a fierce fighter Who led the Danes to the end of his long life”

·       Hrothgar, king of the Danes

o  “Hrothgar, taking the throne, led the Danes to such glory that comrades and kinsmen swore by his sword”


Hrothgar’s actions

·       “he thought of greatness and resolved To build a hall that would hold his mighty Band and reach higher toward Heaven than anything”

o  Named it Herot


The Monster Grendel

·       Grendel hates hearing songs about goodness

·       “that demon, that fiend, Grendel, who haunted the moors, the wild Marshes, and made his home in a hell Not hell but earth”

·       “He was spawned in that slime, Conceived by a pair of those monsters born Of Cain”

o  The comparison to Cain is a biblical reference to Cain and Able

·       “Grendel went up to Herot, wondering what the warriors Would do in that hall when their drinking was done”

o  He stalked them for 12 years

·       “He slipped through the door and there in the silence Snatched up thirty men, smashed them Unknowing in their beds and ran out with their bodies, The blood dripping behind him, back To his lair, delighted with his night's slaughter”

o  Um, well, RIP

·       “Grendel came again, so set On murder that no crime could ever be enough, No savage assault quench his lust For evil.”

o  Bloodthirsty monster man = Grendel

·       “Distance was safety; the only survivors Were those who fled him. Hate had triumphed. So Grendel ruled, fought with the righteous, 60 One against many, and won”

o  The Band of warriors was split up

·       “Herot Stood empty, and stayed deserted for years, Twelve winters of grief for Hrothgar, king Of the Danes, sorrow heaped at his door By hell-forged hands”

o  Instead of a sanctuary, Herot became a murderous hall

·       “So mankind's enemy continued his crimes, Killing as often as he could, comingAlone, bloodthirsty and horrible”

o  Grendel is just, well, a demon

·       “that agony hung On king and people alike, harsh And unending, violent and cruel, and evil.”

o  Everyone is SAD

·       “In his far-off home Beowulf, Higlac's  Follower and the strongest of the Geats—greater And stronger than anyone anywhere inthis world— Heard how Grendel filled nights with horror And quickly commanded aboat fitted out,”

o  Beowulf wants to help because Hrothgar once helped him

o  He’s ready to go fight Grendel

·       “Beowulf  Chose the mightiest men he could find, The bravest and best of the Geats, fourteen In all”