Our adventure begins with Beowulf diving under the water
to find Grendel’s mother and kill her. By doing so he will finally
liberate the Scylding people from constant oppression and destruction.
Beowulf dresses himself in armor and accepts an ancient
and trusty sword named Hrunting from Unferth.
Then he jumps into the swirling pool. It is a long journey to the bottom
of the mere: “Then was it a part of a day before he might see the bottom’s
floor” (Norton, 46). When Beowulf enters the water, something strange happens:
“many monsters attacked him in the water, many a sea-beast tore at his
mail-shirt with war-tusks, strange creatures
afflicted him” (Norton, 46).
Beowulf finds himself in a hostile hall where he is able
to see the monster woman. The battle begins.
The advantage passes from Beowulf to Grendel’s mother and
back. However, Unferth’s sword fails him; it is not strong and big enough
to hurt the monster. They continue to fight in hand-to-hand combat. She
longs for revenge for her only son. Beowulf, on the other hand, wants to
protect his people from the deadly monster: “Then the son of Ecgtheow would
have fared amiss under the wide ground, the champion of the Geats, if the
battle-shirt had not brought help, the hard war
net – and holy God brought about victory in war; the wise Lord, Ruler of
the Heavens, decided it with right, easily, when Beowulf had stood up again”
The climax of the fight happens when Beowulf “saw among
the armor a victory-blessed blade, an old sword made by the giants, strong
of its edges, glory of warriors” (Norton, 47). Almost too heavy
for him to hold, he swings the sword at Grendel’s mother and stabbed her:
“Desperate of life, he stuck angrily so that it bit her hard on the neck,
broke the bone-ring. The blade went through all the doomed body. She fell
to the floor, the sword was sweating, the man rejoiced in his work” (Norton,
47). As a sign of his glory, the hall was suddenly filled with light, like
the “candle of heaven” lighting the sky.
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