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"Created from mine. I've worn this crown for fifty winters: no neighboring people have...

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reedcapps | Student, Grade 10 | Honors

Posted September 25, 2013 at 12:55 AM via web

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"Created from mine. I've worn this crown for fifty winters: no neighboring people have tried to threaten the Geats, sent soldiers against us or talked of terror. My days have gone by as fate willed, waiting for its word to be spoken, ruling as well as I knew how, swearing no unholy oaths, seeking no lying wars. I can leave this happy life; I can die, here, knowing the Lord of all life has never watched me wash my sword in blood born of my own family. Beloved."

Note that Beowulf summarizes his 50-year reign in the lines above from Beowulf. What ideals are reflected in Beowulf's speech?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 25, 2013 at 1:24 AM (Answer #1)

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The Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf recounts the exploits of the epic hero Beowulf, the man who killed Grendel and Grendel's mother and eventually became king of his land. After a fifty-year reign, Beowulf is called upon to save his country from a dragon. 

Before he fights his final battle, Beowulf summarizes his reign this way:

"I've worn this crown for fifty winters: no neighboring people have tried to threaten the Geats, sent soldiers against us or talked of terror. My days have gone by as fate willed, waiting for its word to be spoken, ruling as well as I knew how, swearing no unholy oaths, seeking no lying wars. I can leave this happy life; I can die, here, knowing the Lord of all life has never watched me wash my sword in blood born of my own family."

In this speech, Beowulf outlines all the things that are important to him, the things he values in his life.

First he is proud to say that he has kept his people safe, and no neighboring countries have tried to make war with the Geats. Second, he did his best to be an honorable man. He made no "unholy oaths" and he did not seek out false wars (wars without cause). Third, he never shed the blood of his own family, something we know happened often in this time. Finally, Beowulf lived his life "as fate willed" and can die content in the fact that he has done what he should have in the best way he could.

Sources:

Lori Steinbach

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