Beowulf Violence Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
He went in front with a few men, good judges of the lie of the land, and suddenly discovered the dismal wood, mountain trees growing out at an angle above grey stones: the bloodshot water surged underneath. It was a sore blow to all of the Danes, friends of the Shieldings, a hurt to each and every one of that noble company when they came upon Aeschere's head at the foot of the cliff. (1412-1421)
It's good enough for the most chilling horror movie: you're tracking the monster, you see a bloody lake around the corner of the cliff, and then your friend's severed head staring up at you. It certainly gives us the shivers.
So the Shieldings' hero, hard-pressed and enraged, took a firm hold of the hilt and swung the blade in an arc, a resolute blow that bit deep into her neck-bone and severed it entirely, toppling the doomed house of her flesh; she fell to the floor. The sword dripped blood, the swordsman was elated. (1563-1569)
Sometimes Beowulf does seem to take a bloodthirsty pleasure in his acts of violence, as in this scene, where he decapitates Grendel's mother. The parallel structure of the last line of this passage – "The sword dripped blood, the swordsman was elated" – implies a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the two, even though the poet doesn't explicitly say that one caused the other.
So the king of the Geats raised his hand and struck hard at the enamelled scales, but scarcely cut through: the blade flashed and slashed yet the blow was far less powerful than the hard-pressed king had need of at that moment. The mound-keeper went into a spasm and spouted deadly flames: when he felt the stroke, battle-fire billowed and spewed. (2575-2583)
Even the dragon's death-agonies are depicted in gruesome detail, as it thrashes and spasms in response to Beowulf's attacks. We think that as a film, if it were made exactly the way it's written, Beowulf would definitely get rated R for "intense scenes of fantasy violence."