How Do The Geats Honor Beowulf After He Dies

How did the Geats honor Beowulf after his death?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

“I have survived many wars in my youth, and now I, the old defender of the people, will once again seek battle and accomplish mighty deeds, if that fell destroyer will come forth from his cavern to fight me!”

Beowulf fought against a dragon in his last encounter. He defeated the creature, but he also succumbed to wounds sustained during the battle.

Beowulf requested his men to cremate him and bury his ashes under a rock mound (cairn).  The cairn was to be built along the shores where it would serve as a monument in remembrance of the great King. Wiglaf together with the bravest Geatish warriors built a funeral pyre and mounted on it various battle equipment. After the pyre burnt to ashes, they built the barrow tall enough to be visible to sailors voyaging in the sea. They buried some precious ornaments and the gold retrieved from the dragon’s lair. Twelve warriors then rode around the monument to mourn Beowulf. They rode around the barrow hailing the great King for his courageous and glorious feats in battle.

Then twelve sons of princes, warriors skilled in battle, rode around the barrow to make a lament, mourn their king, chant their dirge, and honor his name.

thewritingteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Wiglaf first chastised the men who ran away, but then spoke in exhultation of the great king. The Geats rolled the dragon off the cliff into the water so that there could never be a memorial to it. They then built a tower, according to Beowulf's last request, to build a tower to guide sailors forever. Beowulf had also told Wiglaf to use the treasure to benefit the people, but Wiglaf instead collected the treasure and buried it in Beowulf's tower.

Twelve of the bravest Geats then rode their horses around the tower telling the stories of Beowulf's greatness. They mourned him as the prince most deserving of praise.

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