Aaaaahhh, Sweet Revenge
Night comes and darkness covers all. The warriors lie soundly asleep
in the great hall of Heorot, knowing that Grendel is dead and that Heorot is
once again a regal safe haven for all troops. But the men do not know fateís
plans, for this night a monstrous sacrilege befalls Heorot once again. It is
the she-demon! Grendelís mother wreaks havoc on the mead-hammered occupants
of the hall. She carries herself like a warrior, avenging the death of her kin.
She snatches Grendelís arm, it is no longer to be displayed as a trophy, and
she snatches King Hrothgarís most beloved friend Aeschere, apparently as the
man-price for her dead hell-hound son.
Closer to Home (Swamp)
Fleeing the scene of the brutal attack, Grendelís mother returns to familiar
grounds where she is greeted by the fallow savage landscape that only a mother-demon
can call "home." Ravenous for blood, she decimates Aeschere and leaves
his head by the cliff to serve as a warning to trespassers. We may also speculate
that she does so to avenge the desecration of Grendelís arm that has been so
conspicuously hung in the hall as a trophy.
After Grendelís motherís unexpected attack, Beowulf advises King Hrothgar
that it is better to act than to weep. Unferth is given the chance to prove
himself and to test his boasts by volunteering to slay the wretched she-demon
that has brought new sorrows on the kingís old head. But Unferth disappoints
his fellow warriors and his king. He knows how to "talk the talk,"
but apparently he backs down from "walking the walk," and loses repute.
This costs him his reputation and his pride. He quietly hands over his sword
to Beowulf, and with it, his pride and honor. The boaster is but a boaster and
is unable to stand steadfast in the face of imminent danger.
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