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How did Beowulf overcome the frightful monster?

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utau123 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 23, 2011 at 1:29 AM via web

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How did Beowulf overcome the frightful monster?

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

Posted August 23, 2011 at 9:03 AM (Answer #1)

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In the Epic Poem Beowulf, Beowulf is described as the typical Epic Hero. Given that Beowulf possess the many characteristics of the Anglo-Saxon hero, he has the ability to defeat the monster Grendel.

Epic heroes, like Beowulf, must possess many different qualities which the society deems great and, therefore, qualifies a man as a hero. This being said, of the many characteristics which make Beowulf a hero, the two characteristics which allow Beowulf to defeat Grendel are 1)the conflict must be with a being of equal or greater ability (no fame comes from defeating a weak opponent) and 2)his decision to fight Grendel without weaponry given Grendel possess and carries no weapons.

In the end, Beowulf takes the arm of Grendel as a trophy, and confirmation, of his vanquishing the beast known for tormenting the people of Hrothgar's kingdom.

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longwinded | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted August 23, 2011 at 1:55 AM (Answer #2)

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Grendel takes the shape of defeat after Beowuld shorns off Grendel's arm from his shoulder. It is then he retreats to his mire to die, returning nevermore.

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thetall | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted June 22, 2015 at 3:37 PM (Answer #3)

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Grendel, the monster that attacked Herot, Hrothgar's mead hall, was unstoppable until Beowulf arrived in the land of the Danes to face the monster. The monster had attacked and killed many of Hrothgar’s warriors forcing the people to abandon the mead hall. News of Grendel reached Beowulf, a brave and skilled warrior from the Geats, who after hearing the news left his home to challenge the monster.

He arrived with some of his men in the land of the Danes and made his intentions known to King Hrothgar. At night Beowulf and his compatriots sleep in Herot to wait for the monster. Grendel arrives in the dark and begins to attack the warriors. The warriors fight back but their weapons don’t work on Grendel because of enchantment protecting the monster from harm. Beowulf refused to use any weapons and instead battled the monster by hand. The two engage in a vicious fight until Beowulf grabs the monster's arm and tears it from the its body. Grendel then runs back home mortally wounded and dies there. Beowulf keeps the arm as a trophy.


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