Humble Warrior

Much of the poem that we have read before this section has been about gruesome battles and many killings of men. This reading however steered away from that general theme and focused more on the joyous side of battle, what happens once a battle is won and the hero is rewarded. Beowulf returns to his homeland and with him brings many treasures and signs of gratitude from the Danes. Upon entering his own mead-hall, he presented the king with all these riches and awaits the king’s approval. Though treasures have been mentioned in previous readings before this, they have never been described in this much depth and been given this many lines in the poem. It opposes the other passages which are filled with war and death by celebrating the good deeds of Beowulf and his warriors and gives the reader insight into the culture and how different people rewarded each other for helping in a time of need.

Once Beowulf and his men return to the hall, the reader is brought to a scene that is similar to when they first arrive in the Danish battle-hall and are greeted by the king. In the previous passage, Wealtheow travels around the room and ceremoniously gives all the men a drink from the same cup of mead. In this reading the Geatish princess, the daughter of Haereth,  makes her way around the hall presenting all the men with a single cup of mead. It gives the reader a glimpse into the culture and customs at this time. Although the Geats and Danes are significantly different people, they both have a similar custom of presenting all the warriors with a goblet of mead upon arrival before a feast.

In passages before this, Beowulf has been shown as an arrogant warrior who will jump at any opportunity to tell others of his heroic tales and show how strong and brave he is. In this section, he does not brag about his strength in single-handedly defeated the monster Grendel that was causing much distress for the Geatish people as a whole for twelve years. Instead, he very accurately recounts the events that happened as the reader knew them to be true. This shows that perhaps the fact that Beowulf was almost defeated my Grendel’s mother and narrowly escaped death and came out victorious has humbled him. Instead of boasting about his superhuman strength and courage to defeat sea creatures and monstrous killers, Beowulf attributes his winning the battle to his faith in God and believes that God sent the sword for him to defeat Grendel’s mother so that he could escape death and live on to tell the tale and continue his good deeds.


2 thoughts on “Humble Warrior

  1. It was interesting to see how you interpreted Beowulf’s account of his victories against Grendel and his mother, and that you thought he was “humbled” by the experience of nearly escaping death. I, in fact, thought of the opposite, because I thought that Beowulf actually embellished his stories in front of his King. But I do see your point, and I wonder if you had supported your ideas with direct quotes and examples, your point could be made clearer and more convincing.


  2. I thought your analysis of Beowulf becoming more humble in this section was very intriguing. We have never seen him as anything but arrogant before this point but now in the presence of Hygelac he seems to be a different person. Although you do refer to the text well, it would be helpful to include direct quotes or line numbers to direct the reader to specific parts of the text.


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