"Fate often saves an undoomed man when his courage is good"

-Beowulf (Donaldson, 12)


The passage that our group analyzed spans the action when Beowulf returns to the halls of Heorot after a harsh battle with Grendel’s mother.    He returns to king Hrothgar in the great hall of Heorot to say that he has successfully completed his boast and killed Grendel’s mother.    Beowulf states that it has been a very difficult underwater battle and that he has barely escaped with his life, “The fight would have been ended straightway if God had not guarded me” (Donaldson, 29).   Beowulf mentions this due to the fact that the sword given to him by Unferth, called Hrunting, was powerless against Grendel’s Mother.  Hrunting is useless against Grendel’s mother due to the fact that she has the same charm upon her as Grendel did, which is that no normal sword can pierce her skin.   Then, by chance, Beowulf finds an ancient sword on a wall during the battle and uses it against the monster.  This sword, which was crafted by the giants, is able to pierce the monster's skin and after one swing, the monster was cut in half.   After using this ancient sword to murder the monster, Beowulf watches the blade of the sword melt away due to the toxicity of the monster's blood, until only the hilt was left.   A hilt is the handle of a weapon or tool.   The hilt is decorated with runic symbols and was given to King Hrothgar of the Danes as proof of Beowulf’s exploits.   The King is also given the severed head of Grendel as further reassurance that their troubles at the great hall of Heorot is over.

Hrothgar then tells Beowulf, “Lo, this may one say who works truth and right for the folk, recalls all things far distant, an old guardian of the land” that this earl was born the better man.” (Donaldson, 30)  The king in this sentence compliments Beowulf for his great deeds and adhering to the warrior code, something the rest of King Hrothgar’s thanes are very hesitant to do.   During the festivities celebrating Beowulf’s victory the King predicts that Beowulf will become the protector of the Geats until old age takes him and that he will be one of their greatest kings.



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