Reading Strategy p38. What events preceded the dragon’s attack on the Geats ?. Reading Strategy p38. What events preceded the dragon’s attack on the Geats ? The theft of a gem-studded cup by someone who accidentally stumbles on the entrance to the stone tower. Literary Element p39.
The theft of a gem-studded cup by someone who accidentally stumbles on the entrance to the stone tower.
This passage has an elegiac mood, stating that not only the accoutrements but the warrriors who owned them eventually pass away. By creating this mood, the poet suggest that Beowulf’s conflict with the dragon might result in his death and his people’s demise.
Grendel attacks out of hatred for humans, the dragon attacks out of revenge.
It is ironic that in resolving a problem with his master, the slave triggers a conflict that threatens the entire kingdom.
Beowulf is humble and conscientious ruler. Her respects the tradition that a kingdom is punished for the sins of its king, and he accepts moral responsibility for his people’s suffering.
Hrothgar does not try to slay Grendel, the monster that is slaughtering his people. Beowulf, however, decides to fight the dragon that threatens his people. Beowulf is either braver or more powerful than Hrothgar, or both.
Some may say he is foolhardy because he, an elderly warrior, can conquer a powerful adversary without help from his warriors.
Others may say that Beowulf is noble for trying to protect his warriors from certain death.
It creates suspence. First a cloud of hot breath, then a shuddering of the ground as the dragon plods forward. The poet slows down the action of the narrative as Beowulf and dragon approach each other.
Beowulf courageously fights although he knows that he is doomed. Beowulf seems more heroic because he accepts his fate even as he fights the only losing battle of his life.
The bond entails that a warrior must remain to fight alongside his kinsman even in the face of extreme danger and death.
Wiglaf’s father, Wexstan, won the armor and the sword in battle by killing King Onela’s nephew. Wexstan kept the armor and sword to give to his son when Wiglaf came of age. Wiglaf inherited the sword and armor when Wexstan died.
A chief gave weapons, armor, and other goods to his followers in return for their loyal service in a time of need.
Though seriously wonded, Beowulf now has an ally in his fight against the dragon. This could be a difference maker.
Beowulf’s strength is his biggest asset as a warrior. This becomes his handicap in his battle with the dragon. He is so strong that the force of his blows shatters any weapon he wields against the dragon.
He has managed to maintain the peace for fifty years, has never sworn an unholy oath, and has never engaged in battle against a kinsman.
The treasure is proof of his greatness and will bring glory and security to his people.
Immortality consists solely of fame, so he plans his monument carefully. He wants to ensure that his people will cherish his memory for as long as possible.
With the exception of Wiglaf, who is loyal and brave, Beowulf’s followers turn out to be cowards and traitors. They violate the heroic code because of their fear.