Sections 25-30 (lines 1740-2143) Notes from Beowulf

Gareth Hinds
This section contains 784 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
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Beowulf Sections 25-30 (lines 1740-2143)

Hrothgar continues giving advice to Beowulf: a king must be peaceful and not arrogant, yet remain ready to do battle at any time, to protect his kingdom. If a king does not:

"the Devil's dark urgings wound him, for he can't/ Remember how he clung to the rotting wealth/ Of this world, how he clawed to keep it, how he earned/ No honor, no glory, in giving golden/ Rings, how he forgot the future glory/ God gave him at his birth, and forgetting did not care." pg. 78, lines 1747-1752

Topic Tracking: Christian/Pagan 7

Hrothgar tells Beowulf to heed his words: to not become prideful, greedy, tyrannical or war-hungry. For when his flesh fails, and he dies, it will make a difference. He tells how he ruled Denmark peacefully for more than fifty years, guarding his kingdom from attack and abuse, until the awful Grendel emerged. Beowulf avenged the monster's attacks twice; for these acts Hrothgar will reward him with gold.

Beowulf and his men join with the Danes to feast and rejoice in their shared victory. When night comes, Beowulf falls asleep peacefully, waited on by the best of Danish servants, grateful for the rest after his tremendous battle. He sleeps and dreams until a "black-feathered raven" sings at morning, casting aside the shadows of night. All of Beowulf's men rise with him, eager to set sail for their homeland, armored and ready to load their ship.

Beowulf rises to say farewell to his Lord Hrothgar, weighed down with the kind gift of Unferth's sword. Beowulf thanks the gracious Hrothgar, saying how he and his people must now return to his Lord, Higlac, but how they will remain forever loyal, ready with bands of Geatish warriors to fight if summoned. Hrothgar praises the young Beowulf:

"All-knowing God/ Must have sent you such words; nothing so wise/ From a warrior so young has ever reached/ These ancient ears...If your lord,/ Hrethel's son, is slain by a spear,/ Or falls sick and dies...I say that the Geats/ Could do no better, find no man better/ Suited to be king, keeper of warriors/ and their treasure, than you..., Beloved Beowulf." pg. 80-81, lines 1841-1852

Beowulf, in his victory over Grendel, has transformed Geats and Danes, once bitter enemies, into peaceful brothers, willing to fight alongside one another. Hrothgar assures Beowulf that as long as he is King, the Danes will welcome the Geats with open arms, treasure gifts, and open mead-halls. He gives Beowulf a dozen more golden treasures, crying in his old age in remembrance of the good that Beowulf as brought to his people and his kingdom.

Beowulf and his men load their ship with horses, gold, and armor and sail for Geatland. They pass through the waves and wind until Geatish shores greet them in the distance. The Geats on land run to meet them, happy to see the beloved warriors return in the flesh. Beowulf and his men gather their gold and treasure and march to the Lord Higlac's hall, presenting the treasure to the Lord they follow.

The poet speaks about Higlac's wife, Higd, a wise and peaceful Queen, and contrasts her with Thrith, a haughty and vicious woman who sentenced men who gazed upon her beauty too long to death by the sword. But Thrith had been married to Offa across the ocean, who had made her into a good, generous woman.

Higlac orders Beowulf to sit by his side and tell the tales of his time spent in Denmark. Beowulf sings the story of his meeting with Grendel, his battle, Herot's rejoicing, the arrival of Grendel's mother, and his final battle against the female fiend. Beowulf tells how Hrothgar also plans to marry his daughter, Freaw to Ingeld of the Hathobards (with whom they have a blood-feud), as a message of peace:

"She and that ripening soldier will be married/...Hoping that his quarrel with the Hathobards can be settled/ By a woman. He's wrong: how man wars/ Have been put to rest in a prince's bed?/ Few. A bride can bring a little/ Peace, make spears silent for a time,/ But not long." pg. 86, lines 2025-2032

Beowulf tells Higlac how war will come from this match, how some hot-mouthed warrior at the banquet will stir anger, wishing for revenge, seeking treasure won by war with his ancestors.

Topic Tracking: Treasure 8

Beowulf finishes his tale of glory to Higlac and describes Grendel's hideousness: how he consumed Dane upon Dane, stuffing them into his pouch made of dragonscales which rested at his side.

Topic Tracking: Men and Monsters 9

Beowulf's strength wins out, he overcomes both fiends, wins Hrothgar's favor, treasure, and now his Lord's too!

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