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Beowulf is an Old English heroic epic poem. It is not known who wrote it, but it was originally written down between the 8th and the 11th century. The only copy of Beowulf that still exists is from about 1010. Beowulf is 3182 lines long.
Hrothgar, a Danish king, has built a big mead hall, which is called Heorot. Hrothgar and his people live a good life and celebrate in Heorot. But then they are attacked by Grendel, who comes to Heorot every night and kills some of Hrothgar's people.
Beowulf and his men stay the night in Heorot. When Grendel comes to kill them, Beowulf fights him. Beowulf tears Grendel's arm off from his body and sticks it on the wall as a trophy. Grendel runs to his home in the marshes, where he dies. Everyone is happy that Grendel is killed and celebrates. But the next night, Grendel's mother comes to Heorot and kills many people for revenge and grabs Grendel's arm. Beowulf then goes to the marshes where Grendel and his mother lived. Beowulf fights Grendel's mother and kills her.
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The story of Beowulf has often been told in books, plays, and films. Sometimes the full story is told, sometimes just parts of the story. Sometimes the plot is altered. Sometimes only ideas or themes are taken from the story. Some examples are:
- Beowulf (1999 film)
- Beowulf and Grendel (2005 film)
- Grendel (2007 film)
- Beowulf (2007 animated film)