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Buku CliffsNotes Beowulf by Stanley P Baldwin

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CliffsNotes Beowulf by Stanley P Baldwin

Author:Stanley P Baldwin

Language: eng

Format: epub

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Published: 2011-06-06T16:00:00+00:00

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CliffsNotes Beowulf by Stanley P Baldwin

Lines 1888–2199

Summary

Beowulf and his men return to their ship and set sail for Geatland. The poet interrupts his report on Beowulf’s return to discuss the Geats’ Queen Hygd and the qualities of a virtuous queen as contrasted to a wicked ruler like Queen Modthrytho. After this interlude, the narrator returns to Beowulf’s arrival at King Hygelac’s splendid hall. Hygd passes among the thanes serving mead, reminiscent of Wealhtheow’s admirable hospitality at Heorot. Hygelac asks about Beowulf’s journey, and the young champion recounts his visit to the Scyldings, digressing to consider Hrothgar’s attempt to make peace with the Heathobards.

 

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CliffsNotes Beowulf by Stanley P Baldwin

Author:Stanley P Baldwin , Date: June 7, 2019

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Author:Stanley P Baldwin

Language: eng

Format: epub

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Published: 2011-06-06T16:00:00+00:00
Lines 1888–2199

Summary

Beowulf and his men return to their ship and set sail for Geatland. The poet interrupts his report on Beowulf’s return to discuss the Geats’ Queen Hygd and the qualities of a virtuous queen as contrasted to a wicked ruler like Queen Modthrytho. After this interlude, the narrator returns to Beowulf’s arrival at King Hygelac’s splendid hall. Hygd passes among the thanes serving mead, reminiscent of Wealhtheow’s admirable hospitality at Heorot. Hygelac asks about Beowulf’s journey, and the young champion recounts his visit to the Scyldings, digressing to consider Hrothgar’s attempt to make peace with the Heathobards.

Returning to his own story, Beowulf briefly reports on his victory over Grendel, the surprise attack by Grendel’s mother, and his triumph at the cave beneath the mere. Beowulf presents various treasures to Hygelac and Hygd, most notably presenting the queen with the magnificent gold necklace that Wealhtheow gave him. Hygelac rewards Beowulf with a rare heirloom, a sword covered with gold. He also honors the young warrior with “lands, seven thousand hides, / a hall, and gift-throne” (2195–96). Beowulf is now a lord of the realm, but it is clear that he still owes his allegiance to Hygelac.

Commentary

After Hrothgar’s sermon, everything that Beowulf does must be thought of, at least in passing, within the context of the wise old king’s message. As his visit to the Scyldings runs full cycle and Beowulf returns to his ship with his men, he continues to comport himself with grace and generosity. Exceeding what is expected, the Geat champion presents the Dane ship-guard with a sword so beautifully decorated in gold that the retainer will later display it proudly to his fellows at Heorot.

Modern readers may wonder why the Beowulf poet interrupts his narrative, just as the hero is setting foot on his homeland, to indulge in the elaborate contrast between Geatland’s Queen Hygd and the murderous Queen Modthrytho. When the scop performed the story of Finnsburh at Heorot (1063 ff.), the interlude was a logical extension of the dramatic situation, a celebration in honor of Beowulf at which such a story might well be told. Here, the action simply stops. Beowulf has just arrived home. He is about to receive his welcome. It is a moment of some emotion and dramatic intensity. So the poet interrupts to give us a little lesson on the qualities of a proper queen. Hygd is a proper queen—generous, courteous and wise beyond her years. There is considerable scholarship on who she and Modthrytho might have been and why the poet makes so much of them. For our purposes, perhaps it is enough that they are simply what they appear to be—a young but effective queen who serves her king and her people well, on the one hand; and, on the other, a treacherous example of power gone wrong.

In her excessive pride and abusive treatment of subjects, Modthrytho reminds us of evil King Heremod. She even went so far as to have men executed for the offense of looking into her eyes.

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