Beowulf Lines 371–835 Summary and Analysis

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Lines 371–835 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Edgetho: Beowulf’s father, the link between Hrothgar and Beowulf

Higlac: Beowulf’s uncle and lord

Unferth: Hrothgar’s courtier who taunts Beowulf about the stories of his bravery

Brecca: a childhood companion of Beowulf’s

Welthow: Hrothgar’s wife

Hrothgar remembers Edgetho’s son, Beowulf, and eagerly sends Wulfgar to fetch him. Beowulf boasts of his previous conquests and promises Hrothgar that he will kill Grendel. While the Danish king is pleased that Beowulf has come in friendship, he also thinks it is in repayment for his having averted a war by ending the feud Edgetho began with the Wulfings (another tribe) years ago. After further explaining the situation with Grendel, Hrothgar orders a feast for the Geats.

At the feast, Unferth taunts Beowulf with the stories he’s heard of Beowulf’s youthful swimming contest with his companion, Brecca. Beowulf responds with his own version of this story. Welthow is attentive to Beowulf and, pleased with his boasts, reports to her king that he is sincere.

Later, as the Geats sleep, Grendel attacks and kills a young warrior, Hondshew. Beowulf does battle with the monster, pulling off his claw, arm, and shoulder using his bare hands, as he had vowed he would. This method of counter-attack becomes a necessity when the Geats realize their weapons are useless—they have been bewitched into harmlessness by the monster himself. Grendel escapes to his lair, only to die of his wounds. His claw, arm, and shoulder are hung from the rafters at Herot.

Discussion and Analysis
Although Beowulf is seemingly overconfident and boastful, he does have a history of killing the beasts he says he will. He is...

(The entire section is 427 words.)