Beowulf Attacks Grendel's Mother
(A Short Description of the Passage)Beowulf sees Grendel's mother in a cave. He tries to hit her with his sword, Unferth's Hrunting, but it fails to pierce her skin. So he throws the sword away and attacks the mother with his bare hands. He trusts "in his strength, his mighty hand-grip." Beowulf manages to throw Grendel's mother down; however, she quickly retaliates and is soon sitting on top of him. She tries to kill him with a dagger, but Beowulf's armor protects him this time. Beowulf managed to throw her off of himself and sees a sword of enormous size, which he immediately grabs.
This sword has a beautiful ornamented handle and a blade that is hinting that this is not an average sword. It is "an old sword made by giants, string of its edges, glory of warriors." Beowulf uses this sword to kill Grendel's mother by hitting her from above, thus breaking her collar-bones and slicing her into two halves. At this moment, the fire brightens and lits the cave from inside, "just as from the sky heaven's candle shines clear." Beowulf looks around and sees dead Grendel, so he immediately cuts monster's head off to present it to Hrothgar. As soon as he does that, the lake becomes stained with blood. The watchers ashore interprets this as a sign of Beowulf's death of the hands of Grendel's mother.
Meanwhile, the blade of Beowulf's new sword melts because the blood is too hot and poisonous for it. Beowulf does not take anything from the cave besides Grendel's head and the handle of the miraculous sword even though there are many great treasures around. He swims back to the shore and is heartily greeted by his fellow warriors. Grendel's head is carried by four men to a place of feast where it is dragged around for entertainment while everyone feasts.