Introduction to English literature
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Introduction to English literature
This literature is written in the Anglo-Saxon language. Its beginning have their roots in the territory where Anglo-Saxon tribes came from today’s Denmark and its surroundings. The oldest epic poem ‑ The Song of Beowulf appeared between the 7th and 9th century, but the unknown author used the older Teutonic legend. This poem contents over 3 000 lines.
The Song of Beowulf has 3 parts and in ever part is one of Beowulf‘s heroic deed. The story tells about the reign of Danish king Hrothgar, who built banqueting-hall Heorot after many victorious battles. In the wasteland lived Grendel, devouring monster. He revenged for loudly sounds coming from the Heorot. For twelve years he was going to the Heorot in the night, where ate off Hrothgar’s fighters. Monster’s body was covered with thick fell, so nobody was able to thrust it by missile.
In that time lived Beowulf from royal blood in the land of Geats. When he be told about the evilness of Grendel, set sail with the best men to the Denmark and offered to Hrothgar his help. After the blanquet, when fighters was falling asleep, invaded Grendel to the Heorot and prepared to ate off all in the hall. When Beowulf grasped him, Grendel recognized that he didn’t met such a strong man. The monster tried to escape, but Beowulf didn’t stop. It was big fight, but finally Beowulf conquered, because he torn off Grendel’s paw.
During the next blanquet Danish king Hrothgar blessed winner Beowulf. After this ceremony the king left the hall and Beowulf wanted to take a rest too. The fighters were falling asleep, but the next unexpected danger was coming. Grendel’s mother, living in the water, was coming to revenge his son. The fighters prepared to kill her, but she earlier killed Hrothgar’s advisor. Beowulf got from king’s speaker the sword Hrunting, that never dissapointed in the battle.
Then he left to the lake and tried to get on the bottom. It lasted almost the whole day and then he discovered the water’s witch. In the hall, in where water doesn’t leak, he could use the sword. But the edge of the sword is harmless, here Hrunting dissapointed. Beowulf started to fight only by his hands. When Grendel’s mother attacked him by the dirk, he saw the another monstrous sword, caught it and he killed the monster by one attack. Then he torn off the head from Grendel’s corpse lying nearby to hand over to Danish citizens. Hrothgar was much obliged to Beowulf, who decided to return home, to his land.
Beowulf delivered the present to his king Hygelac from Hrothgar. When after Hygelac and his son died in the battles, the kingdom was vested to Beowulf. He reigned wisely for fifty years, and when he was old, one dragon started to threatened his land during the night hours. The dragon was the guard of treasure and it revenged for stealing its gold bowl. Enraged dragon wanted to find the burglar and sputtered flames to destroy human habitations.
Beowulf decided to kill the dragon. He had the big iron escutcheon against the flames. In the grievous fight suffered Beowulf and so did dragon. The other young fighters didn’t have courage and ran away from the battle. Only one of them, Wiglaf, decided to help to his friend and king. During the battle the Beowulf sword again dissapointed. To tell the truth, Beowulf was stronger, when he fought only barehanded. During the third dragon’s attack was Beowulf hurt to the neck, but Wiglaf stabed dragon’s body by the sword. Then Beowulf ripped its stomach. He and Wiglaf together killed the dragon.
Before Beowulf’s death he wished to see the treasure, what they got for their land. Because he didn’t have own son, he put the reign of the land into the Wiglaf’s hands. The end of story is about the Beowulf’s burial.
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