Literary Analysis: Beowulf

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Social events are a major indication of what a society believes and how they function. Funerals, parties and other social gatherings tend to reveal the character’s morals; yet, they seem to reveal more than that. The societal values and customs are exposed through these social occasions. In Beowulf, there are three funerals that contribute to the revealing of this society’s values. Overall, these funerals give this epic poem a sense of culture. The poems are dispersed throughout the poem. The first funeral occurs in the lines one through fifty-two; the funeral of Scyld Scefing. The second funeral is that of Hildeburg’s kin, and this arises in lines 1107 through 1124. The last funeral is the great Beowulf’s, which happens in lines 3737 through 3182.

Scyld Scefing is the deceased king of the Danes, and he was well-loved. The burial of the dead at this time gave tribute to their character: A boat with a ringed neck rode in the haven, ice, out-eager, the atheling’s vessel, and there they laid out their lord and master, dealer of wound gold, in the waist of the ship, in majesty by the mast. A mound of treasures from far countries was fetched aboard her, and it is said that no boat was ever more bravely fitted out with the weapons of a warrior, war accoutrement, swords and body-armor. (Damrosch, and Dettmar 33-40). Scyld Scefing is seen was a great warrior by his people. The weapons and body armor symbolizes this characteristic. He is also seen as an even better leader. Burial with the treasure is to signify the king’s greatness compared to the gold. Through the funeral of Scyld, the writer familiarizes the reader with the concept of a heroic society, which leads to the introduction of the poems hero, Beowulf. The possessions which Scyld is buried with represent the significance of them in this society. Material assets define a person’s status and importance. The funeral also helps to glorify the concept of battle. This leads to the introduction of...
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