Originating before the invention of writing, primary epics were composed by bards who used complex rhetorical and metrical schemes by which they could memorize the epic as received in tradition and add to the epic in their performances.
The setting of the epic is the sixth century in what is now known as Denmark and southwestern Sweden. Grendel rules the mead-hall nightly. At a feast before nightfall of the first day of the visit, an obnoxious, drunken Scylding named Unferth insults Beowulf and claims that the Geat visitor once embarrassingly lost a swimming contest to a boyhood acquaintance named Breca and is no match for Grendel.
Beowulf responds with dignity while putting Unferth in his place. In fact, the two swimmers were separated by a storm on the fifth night of the contest, and Beowulf had slain nine sea monsters before finally returning to shore. While the Danes retire to safer sleeping quarters, Beowulf and the Geats bed down in Heorot, fully aware that Grendel will visit them.
Angered by the joy of the men in the mead-hall, the ogre furiously bursts in on the Geats, killing one and then reaching for Beowulf. The claw trophy hangs high under the roof of Heorot. Filled with mead, wine, and great food, the entire party retires for what they expect to be the first peaceful night in years.
Carrying a sword called Hrunting, a gift from the chastised Unferth, Beowulf dives into the mere to seek the mother.
The mother moves to kill Beowulf with her knife, but his armor, made by the legendary blacksmith Weland, protects him. Beowulf decapitates the corpse.
The magic sword melts to its hilt. After more celebration and gifts and a sermon by Hrothgar warning of the dangers of pride and the mutability of time, Beowulf and his men return to Geatland.
There he serves his king well until Hygelac is killed in battle and his son dies in a feud. Beowulf is then named king and rules successfully for 50 years. Like Hrothgar, however, his peace is shattered in his declining years.
Beowulf must battle one more demon. Beowulf insists on taking on the dragon alone, but his own sword, Naegling, is no match for the monster. Seeing his king in trouble, one thane, Wiglaf, goes to his assistance. The others flee to the woods. Together, Wiglaf and Beowulf kill the dragon, but the mighty king is mortally wounded.
Dying, Beowulf leaves his kingdom to Wiglaf and requests that his body be cremated in a funeral pyre and buried high on a seaside cliff where passing sailors might see the barrow.
It is said that they lie there still.Our estate vineyard blocks are named after Cliff’s favorite rock songs and albums. The name of this blend is derived from Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” in our Twin Peaks vineyard and from Traffic’s “Dear Mr.
Fantasy” in our Poetry vineyard. Famous Poets and Poems is a free poetry site.
We have a large collection of poems and quotes from over poets. Read and Enjoy Poetry. This webpage is for Dr. Wheeler's literature students, and it offers introductory survey information concerning the literature of classical China, classical Rome, classical Greece, the Bible as Literature, medieval literature, Renaissance literature, and genre studies.
A summary of “The Epic” in Alfred Lord Tennyson's Tennyson’s Poetry. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Tennyson’s Poetry and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans.
Andrew George's "masterly new translation" (The Times) of the world's first truly great work of literatureMiraculously preserved on clay tablets dating back as much as four thousand years, the poem of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, is the world’s oldest epic, predating Homer by many centuries.
Video: Epic Poetry: Definition, Heroes & Stories. Epic Poetry. An epic poem is a long, narrative poem that is usually about heroic deeds and events that are significant to the culture of the.