Beowulf

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Beowulf Beowulf at Home (Lines 1913–2199) Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
When Beowulf and the other Geats arrive home, the harbor guard greets them in great friendship and welcomes them home.
Compare this welcome to the wary challenge from the Danish watchman.
Themes
Family and Tribe Theme Icon
Repetition and Change Theme Icon
The warriors go to Hygelac's hall, to appear before the king and his young queen, Hygd. The narrator states that Hygd is a good queen, generous with gifts, in contrast to another queen, Modthryth. When Modthryth was young, if anyone but her lord looked into her eyes she would order the person killed. She became a generous queen, though, after she was given in marriage to Offa I of the Angles.
Repetition and contrast to Modthryth are used to highlight Hygd's queenly generosity.
Themes
Good Warriors and Good Kings Theme Icon
Christianity and Paganism Theme Icon
Beowulf and his men are invited to speak to Hygelac. Hygd offers them mead, and Beowulf describes the generosity and courtesy of Hrothgar and Wealhtheow.
Beowulf's comments about Hrothgar and Wealhtheow highlight Hygelac's and Hygd's similar generosity and courtesy.
Themes
Good Warriors and Good Kings Theme Icon
Repetition and Change Theme Icon
Beowulf mentions, also, that Hrothgar is going to marry his daughter, Freawaru, to Ingeld, the son of Froda of the Heatho-Bards, in hopes of ending a feud between the two clans. Beowulf doesn't think the marriage will end the feud. Some day in the future, he predicts, a young Heatho-Bard will see a Heatho-Bard swords being worn by Danes who won it in battle, and the old feud will erupt again.
Beowulf's prediction is accurate. The situation with Freawaru mirrors that in the Fight at Finnsburg. In both cases a woman is married to an enemy to end a feud, but the feud erupts again. Perhaps a criticism of over-reliance on diplomacy?
Themes
Family and Tribe Theme Icon
Good Warriors and Good Kings Theme Icon
Repetition and Change Theme Icon
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Beowulf next relates his fight with Grendel, detailing both the ferocity of the monster and the treasure he received from Hrothgar, and then describes the fight with Grendel's mother.
Beowulf's story is like a boast; it increases his own fame as a warrior. But his kingly traits are visible in his loyalty to Hrothgar.
Themes
Family and Tribe Theme Icon
Good Warriors and Good Kings Theme Icon
Fame, Pride, and Shame Theme Icon
After finishing his story, Beowulf turns over most of his treasure of armor, weapons, gold, and horses to Hygelac and Hygd. In addition he gives Wealhtheow's golden necklace to Hygd. The narrator describes the mutual generosity and loyalty between Hygelac and Beowulf as the proper way for kinsmen to treat each other.
Beowulf is the ideal warrior. He gives all of the treasures he won through his great deeds and offering them to his king without asking anything in return.
Themes
Good Warriors and Good Kings Theme Icon
The narrator notes that in his younger days Beowulf was scorned and not seen as a courageous warrior, but that Beowulf has changed and become a man of great deeds.
Beowulf's youthful delinquency links him to men like Scyld Scefing, who rose to be great warriors and kings from humble origins.
Themes
Good Warriors and Good Kings Theme Icon
Repetition and Change Theme Icon
In order to acknowledge and reward Beowulf's loyalty and bravery, Hygelac gives Beowulf numerous gifts, including a magnificent sword that belonged to Hygelac's father Hrethel. Hygelac also gives Beowulf land, a hall, and a throne.
Though Beowulf asked for nothing from Hygelac, because Hygelac is a good king he rewards Beowulf's deeds.
Themes
Good Warriors and Good Kings Theme Icon
Fame, Pride, and Shame Theme Icon