Chapter 10 to Chapter 12

Chapter 10: Summary

In the first event of this chapter, Grendel sees a mountain goat climbing toward the mere, his home. He yells at it, then sends a boulder tumbling toward the goat, but the animal jumps over it. Furious, Grendel throws a tree trunk at the goat, which knocks the goat off balance, then throws a stone at it, splitting its skull. The goat keeps climbing. Smiling, Grendel throws another stone at it, bashing its face open, but the goat continues climbing. The scene ends with Grendel grabbing yet another stone.

Watching Hrothgar’s people, Grendel sees them mechanically going through their daily lives. An old woman tells a group of children about “a giant across the sea who has the strength of thirty Danes,” who will supposedly come eventually. An old man laughs at her and kicks his dog.

The Shaper has been ill for a long time. Before he passes away, he begins to state a prophecy of a time when the Danes will repeat part of the past, but dies before he can finish his sentence. A redheaded wife, faithful to her husband yet seemingly in love with the Shaper, accepts word of his death with expressionless calm, and Grendel feels tempted to grab her.

In Grendel’s cave, his mother seems to be trying to warn him about something, but can only say “Dool-dool” and “Warrovvish.” Grendel thinks of the Shaper’s death, and feels like his history and that of the humans “has vanished utterly, dropped out of existence.”

Grendel’s mother tries to stop him from going to the Shaper’s funeral, but he moves her aside. During the funeral, the Shaper’s assistant sings about King Finn and the history of the Danes during their golden age. Hrothgar, Hrothulf, and Unferth are present, but seem aloof. Grendel interprets the Shaper’s passing as the “end of an epoch” for he and Hrothgar.

That night, he sees an old woman “as wild as the wind,” whose eyes bring the “scent of the dragon.” At night,...

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Essays About Grendel