Essay about Comparison of Seven Beowulf Translations

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Comparison of Seven Beowulf Translations There is not unanimity among Beowulf translators concerning all parts of the text, but there is little divergence from a single, uniform translation of the poem. Herein are discussed some passages which translators might show disagreement about because of the lack of clarity or missing fragments of text or abundance of synonyms or ambiguous referents. After the Danish coast-guard meets and talks to Beowulf, the guard then begins his next speech with a brief maxim or aphorism: Aeghwaepres sceal scearp scyldwiga gescad witan, worda ond worca, se pe wel penced. (287-289) T.A. Shippey comments in “The…show more content…
Frederick Rebsamen translates it: “can weigh carefully words and intentions, if he’s worthy in thought” (Rebsamen 10). Seamus Heaney translates it: “will take the measure of two things – what’s said and what’s done” (Heaney 21). Shippey himself translates the maxim: “must be able to judge everything, words as well as deeds” (Shippey 34). Chickering and Rebsamen seem to be lacking; the others give clearer impressions. In the interests of streamlining the presentation of data, let’s discontinue the use of parenthetical citations for translators since the lines of text are numbered, and the use of quotation marks for simple, clear translations, and any other punctuation whose absence will not bring confusion.. “Lines 168-69 have often been discussed and are still somewhat problematical” (Chickering 287) because of the ambiguous reference of several words and the change of subject: no he pone gif-stol gretan moste mapthum for Metode, ne his myne wisse. Chickering: he could not come near the gift-throne, the treasure, because of God – he knew not His love. Donaldson: He might not approach the throne, [receive] treasure, because of the Lord; He had no love for him. Crossley-Holland: This caused the lord of the Danes deep, heartbreaking grief. Alexander: yet he

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