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Literature Study GuidesBeowulfLines 1 63 A Royal Lineage Summary

Beowulf | Study Guide


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Lines 1-63 (A Royal Lineage)

Course Hero's video study guide provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Lines 1-63 (A Royal Lineage) in the epic poem Beowulf.

Beowulf | Lines 1–63 (A Royal Lineage) | Summary


Beowulf is written in numbered lines. In this guide, the lines have been divided into sections covering different episodes in the plot for the purpose of summary and analysis.


Beowulf starts with a legendary tale of a Danish king and his heroic deeds, and sets the tone for the entire tale. It goes on to describe the elaborate funeral of Shield Sheafson, Hrothgar's ancestor and a great and beloved king who was a fierce warrior: "scourge of many tribes ... terror of the hall-troops." The poem continues with a description of how the leadership is passed down from generation to generation until Hrothgar becomes king.


Beowulf begins by providing the noble ancestry of King Hrothgar. He is a descendant of great warrior kings who have done heroic deeds and are exalted in life and in death. This description of lineage, as well as a detailed account of the burial of Hrothgar's ancestor, Shield Sheafson, helps demonstrate his noble and worthy ancestry. Likewise, it provides justification for Beowulf's loyalty and his desire to help a great king defeat an evil force that soon enters the kingdom. In addition, it introduces and describes a main theme within the poem: the heroic code. The description of Shield Sheafson presents a foundation of the ethics, deeds, and accomplishments that make up that code.

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