One of the oldest surviving works of English literature, Beowulf is a heroic poem in Old English written by an anonymous writer. Beowulf, a Geatish warrior, comes to the aid of Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, when he is attacked by a monster called Grendel. Beowulf fights and kills Grendel with his bare hands, and later kills Grendel’s mother when she comes to avenge her son. After many years, Beowulf is attacked by a dragon, which he kills but is mortally wounded in the process. His body is cremated and his ashes are buried in a barrow (a mound built over a grave). He has strength because he is able to defeat Grendel in one-on-one combat. The main character also has the strength to defeat a dragon later in the story and uses his strength to fight monsters that are attacking his people and protect them from harm. The epic poem Beowulf is the oldest surviving long narrative written in the Anglo-Saxon language, and one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature. Among other themes, it recounts the exploits of its eponymous hero in single combat with two monsters, Grendel and Grendel’s mother. Beowulf has been adapted into a film and television series, and inspired a range of comic books and video games; some modern adaptations have also deviated from traditional interpretations by including female characters or abandoning the use of Old English entirely. Although some of these changes have been controversial among scholars, they reflect an evolution in readers’ tastes over time as well as a response to the different mediums used for storytelling.