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Section 4

The Joy of the Danes and the Lay of Sigemund

In the morning, people flock to the hall to see the trail of blood that Grendel had made while escaping. Grendel soon dies of his wounds in the marshes and his heathen spirit is received in hell. Songs are composed in praise of Beowulf as the most worthy of men.

A song: (the song provides a parallel between Sigemund and Beowulf's fate and looks forward into Beowulf's tragic death): Sigemund, son of Waels, and his nephew Fitela fought many battles and slew many monsters. Sigemund obtained great glory when he slew the dragon that guarded a treasure of gold. He carried the treasure home, but was betrayed and killed in the land of the Jutes. Sigemund used to be considered the strongest of men, after Heremod, king of Scyld, who had initially shown great promise, but had proved to be a tyrant.

Hrothgar arrives with Wealhtheow and praises his accomplishment as so many had failed before him. He pledges to hold Beowulf as a foster-son and to reward him handsomely. Beowulf recounts his battle with Grendel, and Unferth is quiet in the face of his victory.

The Feast and the Lay of Finnsburg

The hall, Heoret, is adorned with gold hangings, and the poet comments on this scene of destruction by observing that death is a necessary fate that urges everyone to their ends. Hrothgar gifts Beowulf a standard of gold, an embroidered banner, a sword, a helmet, eight horses and several heirlooms. The hall is filled with revelry and the bards sing the following song about the sons of Finn.

A song: Hnaef, the king of the Danes, had gone to Finnsburg to visit his sister Hildeburh, wife of Finn, the king of the Frisians. There he was killed along with his nephew. A fight followed between the Finns and the Danes, which was settled by a truce whereby Hengest (a Dane) ruled together with Finn over the Frisians. A funeral pyre was prepared and Hnaef and Hildeburh's son were exhumed together with precious possessions. Hengest stayed in Finn all winter long, and with the coming of spring longed to take revenge and return home. Thus the Danes led by Gruthlaf and Olaf attacked and killed Finn and his warriors, and set sail for home with treasures and Queen Hildeburh captured from Finn.

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Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 9
Section 10


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