Literature Study GuidesBeowulfLines 662 851 The Battle Summary

Beowulf | Study Guide


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Lines 662-851 (The Battle)

Course Hero's video study guide provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Lines 662-851 (The Battle) in the epic poem Beowulf.

Beowulf | Lines 662–851 (The Battle) | Summary



After the boasting and festivities are over, Beowulf lays down his weapons and prepares to meet the enemy. Meanwhile, as the men sleep, Grendel plans his murderous rampage. Grendel breaks into Heorot Hall, where Beowulf waits and watches.

Before Beowulf can attack, Grendel claims another victim, one of Beowulf's fellow warriors. Grendel then reaches for Beowulf, and a great battle ensues that is so violent and loud, people outside of the hall are awakened and frightened. Beowulf's warriors try their swords, but Grendel has magic against weapons. Grendel has met his match in Beowulf and tries to retreat, but not before Beowulf fatally injures him by tearing his arm from his body.

Wounded and close to death, Grendel returns to his home under the "fen-banks" (swampy mounds) where he succumbs to his injury.


Beowulf's superhero status reaches new heights in the telling of this battle. Because the audience gains insight into Grendel's astonishment, fear, and instinct to retreat, we have an even greater appreciation for Beowulf's superhuman power. The battle is epic—and plays off good versus evil and biblical themes in which a savior, Beowulf, sends Grendel (Cain's descendant) to hell.

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