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SUMMARIES AND NOTES OF THE POEM
BEOWULF OVERCOMES GRENDEL
Hrothgar and his queen bid their farewells to Beowulf and the others and retired for the night. After everyone departs from Heorot, the Geats fall asleep. Grendel, both angry and hungry, enters the hall. He grabs a sleeping warrior and devours him. Enraged by Grendel's action, Beowulf grabs and pulls the monster's outstretched arm. The two of them fight fiercely until Beowulf's great strength gets the better of Grendel. The monster tries to flee, but as he departs, Beowulf grabs his arm. Using his vice-like grip, he pulls Grendel's arm from his socket. The monster, howling with pain, runs out of Heorot towards the murky lake where he lives. The Geats try to follow him, but cannot track down the monster.
On their way back to the great hall, Beowulf's men start singing about their leader's exploits. They compare him to Sigemund, who killed a dragon but fell into the power of fiends. Upon their return, an overjoyed Hrothgar gives thanks to God for the victory over Grendel and promises to reward Beowulf with more 'earthly riches' than any man has seen. Beowulf gives God all the credit for his accomplishment.
Beowulf displays Grendel's arm like a trophy. In the morning men from far and wide come to see the monster's arm. Later in the day, a great celebration feast is held in Beowulf's honor. Hrothgar presents to him Healfdene's sword, a battle banner woven with gold, a helmet and corselet adorned richly with gold, horses, and weapons. As the feasting and merriment continues, Wealhtheow presents a cup to Beowulf and personally thanks him and asks him to be a mentor and role model for her two sons. She also gives him two armlets, corselet rings, and a collar.
When Grendel enters the hall after the men have fallen asleep, Beowulf is enraged. He grabs the monster's arm, and a fierce fight ensues. Beowulf's strength and stamina is too much for Grendel and he tries to escape. Beowulf catches him and literally pulls his arm off. The monster, howling in pain, quickly flees. The Geats are unable to catch up to him, but everyone assumes that Grendel has been permanently overcome.
There is a lot of excitement about the conquering of the monster, and Beowulf proudly displays the severed arm. Now that twelve long years of torment from Grendel have finally come to an end, Hrothgar expresses his appreciation to Beowulf by giving him various gifts. He also tells the Geat, "I will love you in my heart like a son . . . from this day on." The practical queen steps in to tell her emotional husband that it is right to give Beowulf rewards, but she warns the King against adopting the Geat. She tells him that he must "leave this land and the Danish people to your own descendants when the day comes for you to die." It is clear that she wants her own sons to inherit the Danish kingdom. But she also expresses her appreciation to Beowulf by presenting him with gifts and asking him to serve as a mentor to her sons.