Beowulf Chapter Summaries

Chapter 1 (A ship without a sail) A long time ago, there was no king in the land of the Danes, and one day, a ship without sails or sailors drifted into the harbor. The people there found a child sleeping in the middle of a heap of treasures and gold. They believed that the child was the son of Odin, and made the child, who is called Scyld Scefing, a king. Scyld grew up to be strong, and he strike fear into the hearts of his enemies.
Chapter 2 (A hall full of blood) Scyld Scefing has a grandson called Healfdene. Healfdene has three sons, and the strongest of them, Hrothgar, became king. Hrothgar had a dream to build a great hall, so he build the Hall Heorot. After the Hall was built, Hrothgar had a feast, but when everybody slept, the demon, Grendel, came and killed thirty of his best bodyguards. When Hrothgar woke, he dreamed that his hall was full of blood, and it was true.
Chapter 3 (Ten against Grendel) When Hrothgar saw the bloody hall, he is determined to revenge the warriors. He called on the nine warlords, and they tried to kill Grendel. Unferth was trying to put a brand on Grendel, but he fainted from excitement. Wealtheow, Hrothgar’s wife, ran down the stairs to save her husband. The warriors hurled themselves at Grendel, only to be eaten. At last, Grendel retreated, leaving only Hrothgar alive.
Chapter 4 (Beowulf) 12 years passed, and Beowulf, the nephew of the king of the Geats, was sent to the land of the Danes to save them from the monster Grendel. They sailed to the Danes in a new ship, and when they landed with weapons drawn, a coastguard galloped up to them and asked their purpose. Beowulf is then led to the hall Heorot.
Chapter 5 (Nine sea-monsters) Beowulf arrived at the hall Heorot, only to find that Hrothgar had lost faith in him. He then convinces Hrothgar to let him try, and they feast together. Unferth, a bad person, interrupts the feast by asking about Beowulf’s friend, who had disappeared after a swim in the ocean with Beowulf. Beowulf told Unferth about the nine sea-monsters that he had slain, and everyone cheered. After the feast ended, everyone retired to their quarters except for Beowulf and Unferth.
Chapter 6 (Beowulf against Grendel) When dawn was almost there, Grendel slid into hall Heorot and Beowulf quickly grabbed its arm. Grendel cried out in pain and started to shake his arm free. Beowulf grabbed tighter, and with one jerk, the monster tore its arm out of its socket and fled into the misty fen to its mother.
Chapter 7 (Celebrations) Morning came, and Hrothgar celebrated Beowulf’s success. The poets sang of the deeds of Sigmund and Fitela. Sigmund and Fitela were uncle and nephew, and they slay the dragon that rests on SIiver Rock. The dragon had four heads, one that breath air, another that breath earth, one that breath water, and the last one that breath fire. Sigmund grabbed the heads and put them together, and the fire traveled down the dragon’s throat, killing it.
Chapter 8 (Revenge) When the feast ended, the night came, and Grendel’s mother came to the hall Heorot. She looked at Unferth and smiled, and she took Grendel’s arm. Unferth, urged by Grendel’s mother, murdered Aeschere. They then escaped back into the fen.
Chapter 9 (Into the fen) Beowulf followed the spoor that Grendel’s mother had left and went to a deep pool deep in the fen. He saw the blood bubbling on the surface and concluded that Grendel had plunged into the pool when he was wounded. Then he noticed Unferth’s head hanging on a tree and told his men to bury him. At last, Beowulf plunged into the pool.
Chapter 10 (Beowulf against Grendel’s mother) Beowulf went down, and down, and finally, he fell into Grendel’s mother’s tentacles. She pulled Beowulf down deeper into the pool, and finally, he came to a cave that has air. He was trapped, but Beowulf wrapped his finger around Grendel’s mother, making her sleep. He then walked to the creature’s head and strangled her.
Chapter 11 (Grendel’s head) Beowulf found a giant sword in the back of the cavern and ran his finger along its biting edge. In answer to the noise, the dead Grendel reared up and leaped at Beowulf. Beowulf swung the sword and cut Grendel’s head right off. He then carried Grendel’s head back to the surface. Four men carried it home, and Beowulf told the King and Queen that he has a toothache.
Chapter 12 (Beowulf goes home) In the morning, Beowulf saw a black raven outside his bedroom window that was trying to sing. The raven managed three notes, healing Beowulf’s toothache. Beowulf then wants to go home, and Hrothgar permitted it. He stacked treasures on Beowulf’s ship and thanked the coastguard. He then sailed home. When Beowulf arrived back home, he ran across the shore, kicking shells, and then he told soldiers that it was good to be back home.
Chapter 13 (King Beowulf) When Beowulf went back home and gave all of his treasures to Hygelac, Hygelac was so glad that he gave Beowulf land in return. A few years passed, and then the land of the Geats was invaded by the Friesians. The Friesians burned and plundered villages, so Hygelac led a counterattack. He was ambushed and died. Then Beowulf raised Hygelac’s son, Hardred, to be a king. Hardred died also, so Beowulf ruled for 40 years peacefully.
Chapter 14 (The Firedrake) A slave was threatened a beating, so he ran away into the mountains. There he found a cave that was filled with jewels. He thought that a jeweled cup would quench his master’s anger when he return, so he took the cup and ran. There was a hissing, and a big lizard that was in the middle of the cavern spewed fire at the slave. The slave escaped, but only barely.
Chapter 15 (Beowulf against the Firedrake) The Firedrake was mad, so it swooped down to the valley and burned the houses away. The slave was brought to Beowulf, who told the slave to go and eat honey. The slave ran, and Beowulf began to form a plan to kill the Firedrake. He put on his armor, and marched with his men to the opening of the cave. He had each men carry one of his hives behind their back.
Chapter 16 (Bees) Beowulf halted his men at the crack and Wiglaf tip-toed into the cave. When Beowulf woke the Firedrake, Wiglaf put a stake between the jaws of the Firedrake and threw a glove containing Queen Bee into the Firedrake’s mouth. Then, when the bee came out, the Firedrake swallowed it, and the bees in the hives followed Queen Bee down the Firedrake’s throat, killing it. Then Beowulf died, and Wiglaf became king. He than said nothing about Beowulf’s killing of the Firedrake.

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