Essential Quotes by Character: Beowulf

Essential Passage 1: Chapter IX

To a man, the warriors rose up; he spoke man-to-man, did Hrothgar to Beowulf, and wished him luck while granting him command in the mead-hall, adding these words: “Since I could lift up hand and shield, I never before trusted the guardianship of this noble Dane-Hall to any man—except to you on this occasion. Have now and hold this peerless house; remember your fame and be valiant; keep watch for the foe! No desire of yours will be unfulfilled if you come through the battle boldly with your life.”


Beowulf has come to Denmark, to the realm of Hrothgar, on news that the monster Grendel is terrorizing the land. Seeking for adventure in which he can gain honor, Beowulf brings a company of fourteen fellow Geats to fulfill the quest. Hrothgar, beset by the monster that has overtaken his royal hall of Heorot and killed his warriors, is grateful that so strong a champion has come, a man whom he knew in the Geat’s childhood, and whose fame has spread across the seas. In gratitude, Hrothgar yields his place as champion of his own people to Beowulf, granting him the hall of Heorot to defend and protect. Heorot is a symbol of his power, and thus he guardedly gives it into Beowulf’s control. Never before has he yielded any part of his power and authority to any other man, yet, in his age, he has become unable to deal with this new challenge. With a last warning to stand guard, reminding that his fame and reputation stand on his ability to defeat Grendel, Hrothgar departs.

Essential Passage 2: Chapter XXI

Beowulf, son of Ecgtheow, spoke: “Do not lament, wise sire! It seems better that each man avenge his friends than to mourn them to no end. Each of us must await...

(The entire section is 1456 words.)