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"In his far-off home Beowulf, Higlac's follower and the strongest of the Geats- greater...

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reedcapps | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 2) Honors

Posted September 18, 2013 at 10:18 PM via web

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"In his far-off home Beowulf, Higlac's follower and the strongest of the Geats- greater and stronger than anyone anywhere in this world- heard how Grendel filled nights with horror and quickly commanded a boat fitted out, proclaiming that he'd go to that famous kind, would sail across the sea to Hrothgar, now when help is needed. None of the wise ones regretted his going, much as he was loved by the Geats: the omens were good, and they urged the adventure on. So Beowulf chose the mightiest men he could find, the bravest and best of the Geats, fourteen in all, and led them down to their boat; He knew the sea, would point the prow straight to the Danish shore..."

After reading the lines above, at what point in the story is Beowulf introduced?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 18, 2013 at 10:39 PM (Answer #1)

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Beowulf, in the Epic of Beowulf, is introduced in the midst of turmoil. As any true Anglo Saxon epic hero, Beowulf enters into the epic tale in order to solve the problem at hand--Grendel and his attacks upon Heorot. The excerpt provided in the question refers to the fact that Beowulf has heard about Hrothgar's troubles and decided to take a band of men (fourteen warriors and a man to sail their ship) to the Danelands in order to help Hrothgar. As a hero, Beowulf's behaviors include those which illustrate him to be a true hero: generosity and the desire to help others. 

As a hero, Beowulf's introduction comes after the introduction of the conflict (Hrothgar and Grendel). Grendel, exiled from God's light because of his kinship to Cain, despises God and his followers. Since Hrothgar and his people celebrate God and his power in Heorot, Grendel finds it necessary to take out his wrath upon the followers of God. Grendel's wrath is so renowned, Beowulf hears of it far from the Danelands. Therefore, his introduction comes after the initial conflict has been revealed (or in the midst of turmoil). 


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