The reader is first introduced to Beowulf as he disembarks from his ship, having just arrived in the land of the Danes (Scyldings) from his home in Geatland. He is an impressive-looking man. The Scylding coastal guard points out that he has never seen "a mightier noble, / a larger man" (247–48) even though he has held this office and served his king, Hrothgar, for many years, watching all kinds of warriors come and go. Beowulf is huge and strong. We are soon told that he has the strength of 30 men in his hand-grip. Just as important is the way that the young warrior (not much more than 20 years of age) carries himself; the Geat has the bearing of a noble leader, a champion, perhaps a prince. He has arrived to help the Scyldings; for 12 years, a mighty man-like ogre named Grendel has menaced Hrothgar's great mead-hall, Heorot, terrorizing and devouring the Danes. In a seminal lecture, often anthologized (see CliffsNotes Resource Center), English novelist and
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coastal guard, mighty manlike ogre, central structural motif, scholar J. R.