queen wealhtheow n.
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Queen Wealhtheow. Vocabulary/Diction.

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Presentation Transcript
vocabulary diction
  • “Wealhtheow came in, Hrothgar’s queen, observing the courtesies. Adorned in her gold, she graciously saluted the men in the hall, then handed the cup first to Hrothgar, their homeland’s guardian, urging him to drink deep and enjoy it because he was dear to them.” (612 – 618)
  • observing the courtesies
  • Adorned in her gold
  • saluted the men
  • handed the cup
vocabulary diction1
  • “So the Helming woman went on her rounds, queenly and dignified, decked out in rings, offering the goblet to all ranks, treating the household and the assembled troop until it was Beowulf’s turn to take it from her hand. With measured words she welcomed the Geat and thanked God for granting her wish that a deliverer she could believe in would arrive to ease their afflictions.” (620 – 628)
  • queenly and dignified
  • decked out in rings
  • offering the goblet to all ranks
  • With measured words she welcomed
  • She is a regal queen and hostess:
    • The cup bearer
      • The order in which she serves the men clarifies the hierarchy: Hrothgar gets the cup first
    • Respectful to all, her primary loyalty is to the King and her sons
  • As Queen, she is respected
    • Beowulf’s formal boast is in response to Queen Wealhtheow’s thanking God for “granting her wish that a deliverer she could believe in would arrive to ease their afflictions,” (627 – 629).
  • As Queen, she is allowed to give speeches and her words are heeded:
    • She gently warns Hrothgar to ensure their own sons’ inheritance; “So while you may, bask in your fortune, and then bequeath kingdom and nation to your kith and kin, before your decease,” (1176 – 1179).
      • Part of her role as queen is to make sure the line continues
  • She gently and wisely advises Beowulf after his “adoption,” thus continuing her duty to ensure the inheritance. Like any truly wise person, she first flatters Beowulf to make him receptive to her counsel;
    • “Be acclaimed for strength, for kindly guidance to these two boys . . . . You have won renown . . . . Treat my sons with tender care, be strong and kind.” (1219 – 1228)
queen mother

Queen Mother

As a woman, Queen Wealhtheow is a symbol of family: children and the continuation of the line.

This also works to symbolize the continuation of civilization and culture, for these are factors which nurture growth.

analysis of tone
Analysis of Tone
  • Through vocabulary, characterization, imagery and symbols, it is clear that Queen Wealhtheow is:
    • Respectful, honoring the power structure which is the foundation upon which her civilization rests; she would never do anything to upset this.
    • Nurturing, working on behalf of civilization: helping to create ties between the powerful (Beowulf and his King (the Geats)).
    • Mothering, again on behalf of civilization, working for a peaceful ascension to power of her two sons.
analysis of tone concluded

Analysis of Tone, Concluded

In short, we are to respect and admire her. She carries all the weight of a worthy and honorable queen. She works to better her society and strengthen the forces which nurture it: peace and the continuation of the line.