LINES 853 – 1,070 : Celebration
The news of Grendel’s death quickly spreads and Beowulf becomes the hero of
There is a significant portion of the poem in this section that deals with
the story of Sigemund who, with his nephew Fitela who were renowned for their giant slaying. It has no significance regarding the plot, and was recited by a poet at the feast of celebration held by Hrothgar.
A further section deals with Hrothgar’s historic monologue regarding the
woes inflicted by Grendel on his land.
Beowulf responds by expressing regret that he does not have Grendel’s whole
body to display, only his claw.
Many Danish dignitaries come to the hall to join in with the celebrations.
There is much drinking of mead and devouring of food.
Hrothgar presents Beowulf with a gold banner, helmet, armor and a precious
sword. He also provides Beowulf with eight horses.
The poets who entertain the company support Hrothgar’s view that Beowulf
have been sent by God to rid them of the evil demon.
Although this tale concerns lands that were heathen, much emphasis is placed
on the fight between good and evil. The inference is that there is one God, although this flies in the face of historical accuracy for this part of the world.
The poem provides details of the dignitaries who attended the celebration,
many of whom would later kill one another in feuds, and this irony would not have been lost on the audiences of the day, but alas today’s reader cannot fully appreciate this strange situation.
Again, reading through the lines you cannot help but be impressed by the
embellished dialogue, a standard ingredient of all such ancient epic poems.
Although nothing is known about the author, it is safe to assume that he
was, in addition to being intelligent, probably well traveled for it is evident that he has been influenced by the epics of ancient Greece and Rome, and the names of Homer and Virgil spring to mind.