The epic of Beowulf closes on a somber, elegiac note--a note of mourning. What words or images contribute to this tone?

Expert Answers
thewritingteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is no wonder that Beowulf ends with an elegy to the hero's victories and wisdom. Beowulf ruled as the ideal Anglo-Saxon king: brave, generous, and wise. Accoring to Burton Raffel's translation, the Geats

...have lost the best of kings, Beowulf--
He who held our enemies away
Kept land and treasure intact, who saved
Hrothgar and the Danes--he who lived
All his long life bravely...

Because of Beowulf's ideal reign, none of the dragon's treasures, those spoils of war that would usually belong to the victor, would go to any of the people, but rather be burned on Beowulf's funeral pyre.

Beowulf died as he lived: in honor and courage and glory. His epic example of heroic ideals earned him the praise:

...that no better king had ever
Live, no prince so mild, no man
So open to his people, so deserving of praise.