The Old English, Beowulf, stands alone as the most significant epic in Germanic Literature. The poem takes place in sixth-century Scandinavia; however, no one really knows for certain when or by whom it was composed. Because it was passed down orally, it was written down later, and the only manuscript that remains is believed to be from the 700s A.D. . The classic begins in Heorot, the splendid mead hall of King Hrothgar. There, the king and his warriors have gathered to celebrate his successful reign. "But the jubilant noise from Heorot angers Grendel, a horrible demon who lives in the swamplands of Hrothgar’s kingdom. Grendel terrorizes the Danes every night, killing them and defeating their efforts to fight back. The Danes suffer many years of fear, danger, and death at the hands of Grendel." As soon as Beowulf, a young prince of the Geats of southern Sweden, hears word of all that is happening in Heorot, he sails over immediately with the determination to kill this monster. "The tie between the families goes back many years, and Beowulf is proud to be able to lend his loyal services to Hrothgar." The young and restless prince then wrestles with the demon, tearing off his arm, leaving him to die. The arm is then brought back to the mead hall and hung as a remembrance of Beowulf's victory. Just when you might think the poem ends happily, Grendel's mother appears seeking vengeance on the soul that killed her son. The brave and confident Beowulf sets out to find this sea monster and kills her too. The Danes greatly rejoiced, for Beowulf had done it again! He then returned home to his own kingdom and people, laden with many gifts. Upon his arrival, Beowulf is announced king. After 50 years of ruling the kingdom, he is then called to one last battle; a battle in which he defeated a dragon, but was in turn was also defeated. The story ends with his people grieving as they bury him, overlooking the sea, with many treasures....
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