free booknotes online

Help / FAQ


printable study guide online download notes summary


<- Previous | First | Next ->
Barron's Booknotes-Beowulf-Free Chapter Summary Synopsis
Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | MonkeyNotes

VERSES 3-4

News of the problems in Denmark have traveled far and wide. Beowulf, a member of the Geat tribe, and described by the poet as "greater/And stronger than anyone anywhere in this world" (195- 96), commandeers a boat, enlists fourteen of the strongest and most courageous members of his tribe, and sets sail for the Danish shore.

NOTE:

Notice that Hrothgar doesn't ask for help from Beowulf-or from anyone else, for that matter-but that the Geat warrior takes it upon himself to come to the aid of the Danish people. Is Beowulf truly acting selflessly, or is he using the situation to enhance his reputation as the world's bravest man? Later in the poem we'll learn more about Beowulf's character, and get a clearer sense of what makes him tick.

The Geats arrive safely in Denmark, moor their ship, and thank God for a calm voyage. They're greeted by a Danish soldier who's patrolling the cliff above the shore, and who demands to know where they came from and who they are. The soldier is diplomatic, defensive, and most especially curious, because in his own words no one has ever entered Danish territory "more openly" than the Geats. It quickly becomes apparent to him that the Geats have come to help the Danes, not to rob or attack them. They are open because their intentions are honorable; they have nothing to hide. The more open you are, the poet seems to be saying, the more people will trust you.


Beowulf responds to the Danish soldier bluntly and with great self-confidence. He identifies himself as a Geat, a follower of Higlac, and the son of Edgetho. He assures the bewildered soldier that there's nothing ill-intentioned about the purpose of his visit. Talking to the soldier, Beowulf manages to be both dignified and boastful at the same time. (The ability to resolve contradictory elements in one's personality is a trademark, we learn, of the heroic character.) He's obviously someone who believes in himself and wants others to believe in him as well.

NOTE:

Outward appearances are important to both the Geats and the Danes. Throughout the poem we read detailed descriptions of the armor and weapons of the soldiers. When the Danish watchman finally offers to lead the Geats to Herot, we see their "golden helmets" on top of which "wild boar heads gleamed." The animal embossed on the helmet gives the warrior an additional form of protection; it's almost as if the animal is with him as he marches into battle. Weapons and armor not only have functional purposes for these people, but possess magical properties as well.

Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | MonkeyNotes


<- Previous | First | Next ->
Barron's Booknotes-Beowulf-Free Chapter Summary Synopsis
Google
Web
PinkMonkey

Google
  Web PinkMonkey.com   
Google
  Web Search Our Message Boards   

All Contents Copyright © PinkMonkey.com
All rights reserved. Further Distribution Is Strictly Prohibited.


About Us
 | Advertising | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Home Page
This page was last updated: 5/9/2017 9:51:30 AM