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# Beowulf: Summary

Beowulf, an Old English epic poem, is a remarkable narrative of heroism, monsters, and the struggles of a legendary warrior. This summary highlights the main events and themes of the poem.

## King Hrothgar and Grendel

King Hrothgar of the Danes builds a grand mead hall, Herot, a symbol of his reign where his warriors gather to celebrate. But their joy is shattered by Grendel, a monstrous creature living in the marshes, descended from Cain and thus cursed by God. Grendel, tormented by the happiness and noise from Herot, starts attacking the hall, killing Hrothgar’s men while they sleep​``【oaicite:4】``​.

## Beowulf's Arrival

Beowulf, a mighty warrior from Geatland and a follower of King Higlac, hears of Hrothgar’s plight. He sails to Denmark with his bravest men to help Hrothgar. Upon arrival, they are welcomed by Hrothgar, who has heard of Beowulf’s great deeds and strength​``【oaicite:3】``​.

## Beowulf vs Grendel

Beowulf decides to confront Grendel unarmed, relying on his extraordinary strength. Grendel enters Herot again, but this time Beowulf grips him tightly. The battle is fierce; Herot withstands the commotion but not without damage. Grendel, overpowered and unable to escape, is mortally wounded and flees to die in his marshy home​``【oaicite:2】``​.

## The Battle with Grendel's Mother

Following Grendel's death, his mother seeks revenge. She attacks Herot and kills one of Hrothgar’s closest friends. Beowulf then ventures into her underwater lair to fight her. The battle is grueling; Beowulf’s sword, Hrunting, is ineffective against her. Eventually, Beowulf finds a giant’s sword in the lair, with which he kills Grendel's mother, bringing peace back to the Danes​``【oaicite:1】``​.

## Beowulf's Kingship and the Dragon

Beowulf returns to Geatland, laden with gifts from Hrothgar. After the deaths of his uncle and cousin, Beowulf becomes king of the Geats, ruling wisely for 50 years. However, his peaceful reign is disrupted by a dragon, angered by a stolen cup from its hoard. Despite his old age, Beowulf decides to fight the dragon. In the fierce battle, Beowulf’s sword breaks, but he manages to kill the dragon with the help of Wiglaf, a loyal warrior. However, Beowulf is mortally wounded and dies, leaving his people mourning their great king​``【oaicite:0】``​.

## Themes and Significance

"Beowulf" explores themes of heroism, the struggle between good and evil, and the transient nature of life and glory. The poem reflects the values of bravery, loyalty, and the importance of reputation. Beowulf's battles against Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon symbolize the hero’s struggle against dark forces and his eventual mortality.

This summary provides a glimpse into the rich narrative and profound themes of "Beowulf", underscoring its significance as a cornerstone of English literature.