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What does Grendel's Mother do to Beowulf to show that she is bent on revenge in the...

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maribelita | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 11, 2008 at 12:08 PM via web

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What does Grendel's Mother do to Beowulf to show that she is bent on revenge in the poem? 

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 11, 2008 at 12:54 PM (Answer #1)

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The first act of revenge is her journey to Herot to retrieve her son's arm which was placed in the rafters as a sort of trophy after Beowulf ripped it from Grendel's socket.  While she was there, she killed and ate Hrothgar's best friend.

Beowulf, in answer to the death of Hrothgar's closest friend, traveled to the bottom of the bubbling lake to fight the creature.  While Grendel's mother is bent on revenge to avenge her son's death, she honorably protects Beowulf from other sea creatures and also takes Beowulf to her underground lair filled with air which puts the two on somewhat equal fighting ground.  However, the honor ends there.  She gnashes and tears at his armor, breaks his sword, stretches him out on the floor of the cave, and fights ruthlessly in order to kill her son's murderer.  If it weren't for the magic sword forged by giants which hung on her cave wall, Beowulf may not have won the battle.

It is with this sword that Beowulf kills Grendel's mother and decapitates Grendel's body in order to haul the head back to the mead hall for one last hurrah.  

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