"He'd keep that peace. My tongue grows heavy, and my heart, when I try to tell you what Grendel has brought us, the damage he's done, here in this hall. You see for yourself how much smaller...."
As Hrothgar begins to speak about Grendel in the lines above, his tone, or his attitude toward his subject, becomes bleak and despairing. What repeated sounds does the poet use to suggest this tone in Beowulf?
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As Hrothgar speaks with Beowulf about the powerful monster Grendel who terrorizes Herot, the poet employs alliteration, the repetition of initial consonant sounds, as well as consonance, the repetition of consonant sounds in stressed syllables containing dissimilar vowel sounds. Here is one example with the /w/:
What grief in Heorot Grendel hath caused me,What horror unlooked-for, by hatred unceasing.Waned is my war-band, wasted my hall-troop;Weird hath offcast them to the clutches of Grendel. (VII,19-22)
In the following lines, "The" is repeated three times, recreating the barrage of strikes which Grendel made upon Hrothgar's men,
A grapple with Grendel, with grimmest of edges.Then this mead-hall at morning with murder was reeking,The building was bloody at breaking of daylight,The bench-deals all flooded, dripping and bloodied,The folk-hall was gory: I had fewer retainers,Dear-beloved warriors, whom death had laid hold of. (Vii, 27-33)
[/d /=the sound that the cosonant d makes]
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