The Mead-Hall and the Mere in Beowulf

The description of the two different battle scenes wherein Beowulf slays the monsters are described in great detail, and are both quite different. Beowulf's battle with Grendel occurs in the Danish king's mead hall-a civilized and comfortable setting, while the battle with Grendel's mother takes place in a much wilder and more dangerous locale. The two vastly different scenes are integral to a deeper understanding of the poem and as such, the poet takes pains to describe them to the reader in detail, whereas other, seemingly more important details (such as the monsters and their battles with Beowulf) are more rushed in their descriptions. The places in which the encounters take place are almost as important as the encounters themselves, because although they do not actually contribute to the action, they do provide noteworthy significance to the social and theological trends of the society described.

The scene in which Beowulf battles Grendel occurs in a mead hall. The mead hall is designed by men for the use of men, and as such the penetration of such a place by a very inhuman monster seems even more affronting and his presence more perverse. The mead hall, or Heorot Hall, is erected by King Hrothgar for himself...

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