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FROM"EOWULF
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Where do MONSTERS lurk?


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A
 BMF@ Hrothgar U_aUETv_F, king of the Danes, has built a wonderful
2EREADTHE"ACKGROUNDAND
INTRODUCTIONANDUNDERLINECLUES
mead hall called Herot U9_F:a, where his subjects congregate
THATSUGGEST"EOWULFSSTATUS and make merry. As this selection opens, a fierce and powerful
ASANEPICHERO7HATCANYOU
monster named Grendel invades the mead hall, bringing death and
PREDICTABOUT"EOWULF
destruction. A

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A powerful monster, living down
In the darkness, growled in pain, impatient
As day after day the music rang
Loud in that hall, the harps rejoicing

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 Call and the poets clear songs, sung B  BMF@


#IRCLETHENAMESOFTHEEVIL
Of the ancient beginnings of us all, recalling CREATURESYOUFINDINLINES
The Almighty making the earth, shaping 5NDERLINEWHATHAPPENSTOTHESE
These beautiful plains marked off by oceans, CREATURES7HATUNIVERSALTHEME
MIGHTTHESELINESSUGGEST
Then proudly setting the sun and moon
 To glow across the land and light it;
The corners of the earth were made lovely with trees
And leaves, made quick with life, with each
Of the nations who now move on its face. And then
As now warriors sang of their pleasure:
 So Hrothgars men lived happy in his hall
Till the monster stirred, that demon, that fiend,
Grendel, who haunted the moors,1 the wild
Marshes, and made his home in a hell
Not hell but earth. He was spawned2 in that slime,
 Conceived by a pair of those monsters born
Of Cain,3 murderous creatures banished
By God, punished forever for the crime
Of Abels death. The Almighty drove
Those demons out, and their exile was bitter,
 Shut away from men; they split
Into a thousand forms of evilspirits
And fiends, goblins, monsters, giants,
A brood forever opposing the Lords
Will, and again and again defeated. B

 Then, when darkness had dropped, Grendel


Went up to Herot, wondering what the warriors
Would do in that hall when their drinking was done.
He found them sprawled in sleep, suspecting
Nothing, their dreams undisturbed. The monsters
 Thoughts were as quick as his greed or his claws:

 MOORSZB_gBROAD OPENREGIONSWITHPATCHESOFBOG
 SPAWNEDGIVENBIRTHTO
 #AINTHEELDESTSONOF!DAMAND%VE!CCORDINGTOTHE"IBLE'ENESIS
HE MURDEREDHISYOUNGERBROTHER!BEL

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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
LAIRYu_NTHEDENORRESTING  To h is lair, delighted with his nights slaughter.
PLACEOFAWILDANIMAL
At daybreak, with the suns first light, they saw
How well he had worked, and in that gray morning
Broke their long feast with tears and laments
For the dead. Hrothgar, their lord, sat joyless
C  BMF@  In Herot, a mighty prince mourning
2EREADLINES#IRCLEWORDS
THATREVEALTHEEMOTIONSOF
The fate of his lost friends and companions,
(ROTHGARANDHISWARRIORS(OW Knowing by its tracks that some demon had torn
WOULDYOUDESCRIBETHETONEOF His followers apart. He wept, fearing
THISPASSAGE%XPLAIN
The beginning might not be the end. And that night
 Grendel came again, so set
On murder that no crime could ever be enough,
No savage assault quench his lust
For evil. Then each warrior tried
To escape him, searched for rest in different
 Beds, as far from Herot as they could find,
Seeing how Grendel hunted when they slept.
Distance was safety; the only survivors
Were those who fled him. Hate had triumphed. C
So Grendel ruled, fought with the righteous,
 One against many, and won; so 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. His misery leaped

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-ONITOR9OUR#OMPREHENSION

 The seas, was told and sung in all


Mens ears: how Grendels hatred began,
How the monster relished his savage war
On the Danes, keeping the bloody feud
Alive, seeking no peace, offering
 No truce, accepting no settlement, no price D
 LIABKDIFPEMLBQOV
2ECALLTHATAKENNINGISA
In gold or land, and paying the living METAPHORICALPHRASETHATTAKES
For one crime only with another. No one THEPLACEOFANAMEORNOUN
2EREADLINESANDCIRCLEA
Waited for reparation4 from his plundering claws:
KENNINGFOR'RENDEL7HATDOES
That shadow of death hunted in the darkness, THISKENNINGSUGGESTABOUT
 Stalked Hrothgars warriors, old 'RENDEL

And young, lying in waiting, hidden


In mist, invisibly following them from the edge
Of the marsh, always there, unseen. D
So mankinds enemy continued his crimes,
 Killing as often as he could, coming
Alone, bloodthirsty and horrible. Though he lived
In Herot, when the night hid him, he never
Dared to touch king Hrothgars glorious
Throne, protected by GodGod,5
 Whose love Grendel could not know. But Hrothgars
Heart was bent. The best and most noble
Of his council debated remedies, sat
In secret sessions, talking of terror
And wondering what the bravest of warriors could do. AFFLICTION:"SY<XE`U:[NA
 And sometimes they sacrificed to the old stone gods, FORCETHATOPPRESSESORCAUSES
Made heathen vows, hoping for Hells SUFFERING

Support, the Devils guidance in driving


)NWHATWAYSIS'RENDELAN
Their affliction off. That was their way, AFFLICTIONTOOTHERCHARACTERSIN
THEPOEM

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PEACE
 4HEREFERENCETO'ODSHOWSTHEINFLUENCEOF#HRISTIANITYONTHE
"EOWULF 0OET

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And the heathens6 only hope, Hell


7HATHAVEYOULEARNEDSOFAR
ABOUT(ROTHGARAND'RENDEL
 Always in their hearts, knowing neither God
$ESCRIBETHESITUATIONAT(EROT Nor His passing as He walks through our world, the Lord
ANDTHEEFFECTITHASHADONTHE Of Heaven and earth; their ears could not hear
$ANES
His praise nor know His glory. Let them
Beware, those who are thrust into danger,
 Clutched at by trouble, yet can carry no solace
In their hearts, cannot hope to be better! Hail
To those who will rise to God, drop off
Their dead bodies and seek our Fathers peace!

Beowulf hears of how Grendel attacks the Danes. Beowulf and his
men sail to the land of the Danes to offer help to Hrothgar. They are
taken by a Danish guard to Herot, where Wulfgar, one of Hrothgars
soldiers, tells the king of their arrival. Hrothgar knows Beowulf and
welcomes the prince and his men. Beowulf tells of his deeds and offers
his help to Hrothgar. He says he will fight Grendel using his hands
alone because Grendel needs no weapons. Hrothgar accepts Beowulf s
E
offer and holds a feast in his honor. After the banquet, Hrothgar and
 LIABKDIFPEMLBQOV
2EREADLINES5NDERLINE his followers leave Herot, and Beowulf and his warriors remain to
EACHCOMMATHATCREATESA spend the night. Beowulf restates his intent to fight Grendel without
PAUSEINTHEMIDDLEOFALINE
7HATEFFECTDOTHESECAESURAS a sword and, while his followers sleep, lies waiting, eager for Grendel
ORMIDLINEPAUSES HAVEASYOU to appear.
READABOUT'RENDELSAPPROACH

4(%"!44,%7)4('2%.$%,
Out from the marsh, from the foot of misty
 Hills and bogs, bearing Gods hatred,
Grendel came, hoping to kill E
Anyone he could trap on this trip to high Herot.
He moved quickly through the cloudy night,

 HEATHENU8EaU:[PAGANNON #HRISTIAN4HOUGHTHE"EOWULF0OETWASA
#HRISTIAN HERECOGNIZEDTHATTHECHARACTERSINTHEPOEMLIVEDBEFORETHE
'ERMANICTRIBESWERECONVERTEDTO#HRISTIANITY WHENTHEYSTILLWORSHIPED
THEOLDSTONEGODS

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Up from his swampland, sliding silently F  LIABKDIFPEMLBQOV


#OMPLETETHECHARTBELOW
 Toward that gold-shining hall. He had visited Hrothgars BYRECORDINGTWOEXAMPLES
Home before, knew the way OFALLITERATIONYOUFINDIN
But never, before nor after that night, LINES

Found Herot defended so firmly, his reception !LLITERATION


So harsh. He journeyed, forever joyless,
 Straight to the door, then snapped it open, 1.
Tore its iron fasteners with a touch
And rushed angrily over the threshold.7
He strode quickly across the inlaid
Floor, snarling and fierce: his eyes
 Gleamed in the darkness, burned with a gruesome
Light. Then he stopped, seeing the hall 2.
Crowded with sleeping warriors, stuffed
With rows of young soldiers resting together.
And his heart laughed, he relished the sight,
 Intended to tear the life from those bodies
By morning; the monsters mind was hot
With the thought of food and the feasting his belly (OWDOTHESEEXAMPLESOF
Would soon know. But fate, that night, intended ALLITERATIONAFFECTYOURREADING
OFTHEPOEM
Grendel to gnaw the broken bones
 Of his last human supper. Human F
Eyes were watching his evil steps,
Waiting to see his swift hard claws.
Grendel snatched at the first Geat
He came to, ripped him apart, cut
 His body to bits with powerful jaws,
Drank the blood from his veins and bolted
Him down, hands and feet; death
And Grendels great teeth came together,

 THRESHOLDTHESTRIPOFWOODORSTONEATTHEBOTTOMOFADOORWAY

"%/75,& 
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Snapping life shut. Then he stepped to another


 Still body, clutched at Beowulf with his claws,
Grasped at a strong-hearted wakeful sleeper
And was instantly seized himself, claws
Bent back as Beowulf leaned up on one arm.
That shepherd of evil, guardian of crime,
 Knew at once that nowhere on earth
Had he met a man whose hands were harder;
His mind was flooded with fearbut nothing
TALONa7YE:[NACLAW Could take his talons and himself from that tight
Hard grip. Grendels one thought was to run
 From Beowulf, flee back to his marsh and hide there:
This was a different Herot than the hall he had emptied.
But Higlacs follower remembered his final
Boast and, standing erect, stopped
The monsters flight, fastened those claws
 In his fists till they cracked, clutched Grendel
INFAMOUS<[ES:"Z:`ADJHAVING Closer. The infamous killer fought
AVERYBADREPUTATION
For his freedom, wanting no flesh but retreat,
Desiring nothing but escape; his claws
Had been caught, he was trapped. That trip to Herot
G
 LIABKDIFPEMLBQOV  Was a miserable journey for the writhing monster! 8 G
2EREADLINES5NDERLINE The high hall rang, its roof boards swayed,
THREEKENNINGSTHATAREUSEDFOR
'RENDEL4HENCIRCLETWOTHATARE And Danes shook with terror. Down
USEDFOR"EOWULF The aisles the battle swept, angry
And wild. Herot trembled, wonderfully
 Built to withstand the blows, the struggling
Great bodies beating at its beautiful walls;
Shaped and fastened with iron, inside
And out, artfully worked, the building

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Stood firm. Its benches rattled, fell


 To the floor, gold-covered boards grating
As Grendel and Beowulf battled across them. H H
 LIABKDIFPEMLBQOV
2EREADLINES5NDERLINE
Hrothgars wise men had fashioned Herot
ALLITERATIONTHATISCREATEDUSING
To stand forever; only fire, HARDBANDGSOUNDS(OWDOES
They had planned, could shatter what such skill had put THISALLITERATIONAFFECTTHEWAY
YOUPERCEIVETHEBATTLE
 Together, swallow in hot flames such splendor
Of ivory and iron and wood. Suddenly
The sounds changed, the Danes started
In new terror, cowering in their beds as the terrible
Screams of the Almightys enemy sang
 In the darkness, the horrible shrieks of pain
And defeat, the tears torn out of Grendels
Taut throat, hells captive caught in the arms
Of him who of all the men on earth
Was the strongest.
That mighty protector of men
 Meant to hold the monster till its life
Leaped out, knowing the fiend was no use
To anyone in Denmark. All of Beowulfs
Band had jumped from their beds, ancestral
Swords raised and ready, determined
 To protect their prince if they could. Their courage
Was great but all wasted: they could hack at Grendel
From every side, trying to open
A path for his evil soul, but their points
Could not hurt him, the sharpest and hardest iron
 Could not scratch at his skin, for that sin-stained demon
Had bewitched all mens weapons, laid spells
That blunted every mortal mans blade.

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And yet his time had come, his days


Were over, his death near; down
 To hell he would go, swept groaning and helpless
To the waiting hands of still worse fiends.
Now he discoveredonce the afflictor
Of men, tormentor of their dayswhat it meant
To feud with Almighty God: Grendel
 Saw that his strength was deserting him, his claws
Bound fast, Higlacs brave follower tearing at
His hands. The monsters hatred rose higher,
But his power had gone. He twisted in pain,
And the bleeding sinews9 deep in his shoulder
 Snapped, muscle and bone split
And broke. The battle was over, Beowulf
Had been granted new glory: Grendel escaped,
But wounded as he was could flee to his den,
His miserable hole at the bottom of the marsh,
 Only to die, to wait for the end
I  BMF@
2EREADLINES5NDERLINE Of all his days. And after that bloody
WORDSTHATSUGGEST'RENDELS Combat the Danes laughed with delight. I
FOULANDEVILNATURE#IRCLEWORDS
THATSUGGEST"EOWULFSLOFTY
He who had come to them from across the sea,
RIGHTEOUSGOALS Bold and strong-minded, had driven affliction
 Off, purged Herot clean. He was happy,
Now, with that nights fierce work; the Danes
Had been served as hed boasted hed serve them; Beowulf,
A prince of the Geats, had killed Grendel,
Ended the grief, the sorrow, the suffering
 Forced on Hrothgars helpless people
By a bloodthirsty fiend. No Dane doubted

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The victory, for the proof, hanging high


From the rafters where Beowulf had hung it, was the monsters
Arm, claw and shoulder and all.
J  BMF@
4HINKABOUTTHEOUTCOMEOF
 And then, in the morning, crowds surrounded THEBATTLEBETWEEN"EOWULF
AND'RENDEL7HATQUALITIESOF
Herot, warriors coming to that hall
"EOWULFDOTHEWARRIORSCELEBRATE
From faraway lands, princes and leaders INLINES.AMEATLEAST
Of men hurrying to behold the monsters THREE ANDGIVEANEXAMPLEFROM
THETEXTTOSUPPORTEACH
Great staggering tracks. They gaped with no sense
 Of sorrow, felt no regret for his suffering, NUALITY
Went tracing his bloody footprints, his beaten
And lonely flight, to the edge of the lake
Where hed dragged his corpselike way, doomed 3UPPORT
And already weary of his vanishing life.
 The water was bloody, steaming and boiling
In horrible pounding waves, heat
Sucked from his magic veins; but the swirling
Surf had covered his death, hidden
Deep in murky darkness his miserable NUALITY
 End, as hell opened to receive him.
Then old and young rejoiced, turned back
From that happy pilgrimage, mounted their hard-hooved 3UPPORT
Horses, high-spirited stallions, and rode them
Slowly toward Herot again, retelling
 Beowulfs bravery as they jogged along.
And over and over they swore that nowhere
On earth or under the spreading sky
Or between the seas, neither south nor north,
NUALITY
Was there a warrior worthier to rule over men. J

3UPPORT

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K
 LIABKDIFPEMLBQOV  (But no one meant Beowulfs praise to belittle
2EREADLINES)NWHAT
WAYDOESTHISDESCRIPTIONREFLECT
Hrothgar, their kind and gracious king!)
THETECHNIQUESANDTRADITIONS And sometimes, when the path ran straight and clear,
USEDBY!NGLO 3AXONPOETS They would let their horses race, red
And brown and pale yellow backs streaming
 Down the road. And sometimes a proud old soldier
Who had heard songs of the ancient heroes
And could sing them all through, story after story,
Would weave a net of words for Beowulfs
Victory, tying the knot of his verses
 Smoothly, swiftly, into place with a poets
Quick skill, singing his new song aloud
While he shaped it, and the old songs as well. . . . K

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Where do MONSTERS lurk?


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 "EOWULFJOURNEYSTOTHELANDOFTHE$ANES  /NEUNIVERSALTHEMEOF"EOWULFISTHE
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" HEPLANSTOOVERTHROW(ROTHGAR # SADNESSOFDEATH
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 7HICHLINEDESCRIBESSOMETHINGONLYANEPIC
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LINES SHAPEDITLINES
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# UNBENDINGLOYALTY OFANEPICPOEM
$ SUPERHUMANSTRENGTHANDCOURAGE ! THEGORYNATUREOFTHEBATTLES
" "EOWULFSSTUNNINGVICTORY
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$ 'RENDELSEVILNATURE

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