Unformatted text preview: Grendel's mother has ruled the mere for "a hundred winters" (1498) — or a long time. She knows the territory. Only Beowulf's mail-shirt, made by the legendary blacksmith Weland, saves him from injury as she hauls him to her cave at the bottom of the mere. Neither her grip nor the "strange sea creatures / with sword-like tusks" can do him harm. The vaulted cavern, which has served as a hideaway for Grendel and his mother, is dry and lighted only by a glaring blaze (1517) that reminds the audience of the "ugly light" (727) that shines like fire from Grendel's eyes. It is, perhaps, a fire from Hell that lights the cave of Cain's descendants. Like Excalibur, Hrunting is one of many special swords of legend, which Unferth inherited and gives to Beowulf as a token of the Geat warrior's superiority. We are told that Hrunting has never failed its to Beowulf as a token of the Geat warrior's superiority....
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- Fall '09