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Essay about The Essential Nature of Each Story in Beowulf by Gummere

Decent Essays
Each story in Beowulf, when given more thought and analysis, would be viewed essential to the book itself and the way the issues were seen by the readers. Without the considerations of why these stories were told at their specific times, who narrated the story and to whom they were speaking, what the events would be foretelling or referring back to, and how they applied to the present characters, one would be able to grasp that they set up each possible event in Beowulf and allowed more understanding in the reasons why each situation played out the way it did. Through out the Anglo-Saxon culture, oral tradition was kept to its highest regards. Considering the Anglo-Saxons’ entire days consisted of hard work, hearing stories was their…show more content…
By beginning with this great, well-respected, and well-known king, it set one’s expectations high for the other kings that would be later introduced in the story. The expectations set before the reader show what values were required from a good king. “He would flourish later on as his powers waxed and his worth was proved. In the end each clan …had to yield to him and begin to pay tribute.” (7-11) The great kings didn’t have to come from high statues, but had to prove themselves worthy of being men. Because Shield’s story was known very well, proven by this statement, “We have heard of those princes’ heroic campaigns” (line 3), the narrator of Beowulf had no problem relating the tale of this famous figure without using other characters to do it for him.
The narrator later revealed the backstory of Modthryth to show the comparison between Queen Hygd and her. Here the qualities of a good queen were presented to set up the reader’s expectation on what to look for when a new female role was presented. A good queen as described by the narrator, was selfless, pure, generous, kind and devoted to her king and country. Both Hygd and Wealtheow fit those descriptions. Hygd had “her mind…thoughtful and her manners sure. [She] behaved generously and stinted nothing when she distributed bounty to the Geats.” (1928-1931). At the celebration feast given to Beowulf for slaying Grendel and the beast’s mother, Wealtheow “herself appeared, peace-pledged between nation, to
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