Why does Herot remain empty for twelve years in Beowulf?

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quiltlover eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Herot is the grand mead hall built for the Danes by Hrothgar, the king. Unfortunately, this king is not able to protect his men from the terrible monster, Grendel, who has plagued his kingdomfor twelve years. Whenever he is hungry, Grendel slinks in at night, snatches up a handful of Danes (sometimes as many as 30), and eats them. Eventually, Hrothgar's men fear that if they sleep in Herot at night, they too will become a meal, and they decide to go elsewhere. Hrothgar is not the best of lords, since he appears ineffectual when it comes to protecting his men and lords. He puts sentries along to the coast, but one never reads that he did anything other than wring his hands, cry, and offer Grendel land and gold. Hrothgar's reputation as a leader is trashed and his tales of woe travel across the seas. Beowulf, who is a young Geat warrior and who wants fame and fortune, comes to the rescue of the Danes. Herot soon is saved from Grendel's terrible menace.

mkcapen1 | Student

In the epic poem Beowulf Grendel, the beast, destroys men by ripping them apart.  He haunt Hrothgar's Herot by attacking and destroying his men.  No one feels safe and so every one becomes self-contained and locked together to protect one another. 

One night the Danes had a drinking party.  Grendel had attacked them tearing their limbs off.  Grendel's continued attacks made the people start sleeping somewhere else.

Because of the fear of Grendel, the great hall was empty.