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Beowulf Strength and Skill Quotes

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Quote #1

The story goes that as the pair struggled, mead-benches were smashed and sprung off the floor, gold fittings and all. Before then, no Shielding elder would believe there was any power or person on earth capable of wrecking their horn-rigged hall unless the burning embrace of a fire engulf it in flame. (774-781)

Beowulf's strength is depicted as nearly, or maybe actually, superhuman. His wrestling contest with Grendel causes more destruction than anyone had thought humanly possible.

Quote #2

The monster's whole body was in pain, a tremendous wound appeared on his shoulder. Sinews split and the bone-lappings burst. Beowulf was granted the glory of winning; Grendel was driven under the fen-banks, fatally hurt, to his desolate lair. (814-820)

How strong does a medieval Scandinavian hero have to be? Strong enough to rip a demon's arm out of its socket. That's how strong.

Quote #3

There was less tampering and big talk then from Unferth the boaster, less of his blather as the hall-thanes eyed the awful proof of the hero's prowess, the splayed hand up under the eaves. Every nail, claw-scale and spur, every spike and welt on the hand of that heathen brute was like barbed steel. Everybody said there was no honed iron hard enough to pierce him through, no time-proofed blade that could cut his brutal, blood-caked claw. (979-989)

It's not enough for Beowulf to tell stories of his physical prowess; he also needs to display concrete evidence of his deeds. For example, Exhibit A: the severed arm of Grendel hanging from the rafters of Heorot Hall.

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