What Is the Beowulf Poem About?

The poem "Beowulf" is set in Sweden and Denmark during the sixth century and tells the story of Beowulf, a Geatish warrior who fights monsters. The first creature Beowulf battles is called Grendel, a monster that has attacked the kingdom of Beowulf's uncle. After Beowulf and his men defeat Grendel, they must hunt and kill Grendel's mother. Beowulf eventually returns home and becomes king of his people, reigning for 50 years before dying after a battle with a dragon.

The poem is a mixture of fact and fiction. Much of the Germanic history included is true, and several characters actually existed, such as Beowulf's uncle Hrothgar. However, there is no evidence that Beowulf himself was real, and there also are a number of supernatural elements to the story.

The author of "Beowulf" is unknown but was likely either a monk or a court poet. The exact date that the poem was written is also a mystery, although it was probably completed between the seventh and the eighth century. The poem was composed in Old English, although modern translations of the story are available.

"Beowful" has also been adapted into numerous movies, including a 1999 production titled "Beowulf," directed by Graham Baker, and 2007 movie also called "Beowulf," directed by Robert Zemeckis.