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					Three speeches in Beowulf
     Hrothgar, ll. 1764-1784
     Beowulf, ll. 2510-2537
      Wiglaf, ll. 2632-2668
       Hrothgar’s speech
          ll. 1724-1784
• Invocations of almighty God with overlays
  of the Christian God
• Beowulf will not always by in his prime and
  should be aware of the toll of age
• Inevitability of death which makes earthly
  pleasures and possessions unimportant
• Warns of the dangers of pride at l. 1760
• Hrothgar’s reference to hard reversal
  foreshadows Beowulf’s own with the dragon
        Beowulf’s Speech
          ll. 2510-2537
• Although he is a king, he reverts back to his
  heroic quest for glory at ll. 2513-2516
• He acknowledges the influence of fate on a
  man’s life and death at ll. 2527-2528
• He also refers to the fact that he will win
  gold from the dragon which will help
  quantify his heroism at ll. 2535-2538
          Beowulf’s Pride
           Good or Bad?
Heroes                     Kings
• Have only a              • Have a
  personal                   responsibility to
  responsibility to self     protect people
  and glory                • Should balance
• Use pride as a             pride against need
  motivator to               to preserve social
  perform dangerous          stability
  deeds to earn
  honor
       Wiglaf’s Speech
• Wiglaf acknowledges that Beowulf’s
  responsibilities have changed and might be
  understood as a subtle criticism of
  Beowulf’s decision to fight the dragon
• Wiglaf also states that the fighter cannot
  fight alone
• Wiglaf emphasizes that humans must
  demonstrate loyalty to their lord (hero vs
  coward speech)
What does the dragon symbolize?
  • Pride and greed
  • Temptation of humans
  • The serpent in the Garden of Life who
    tempted Adam and Eve to eat through
    pride
  • Sin

				
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posted:1/6/2013
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