Lines 1,888–2,220 Summary and Analysis

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Last Updated May 24, 2023.

As Beowulf and his companions approach their ship, a Danish sentinel comes forth to greet them, not to provoke but to express how much somebody will miss them back home. In gratitude, Beowulf gifts the ship's guard a gold-embossed sword while the Geats stow their vessel with horses, armaments, and treasures. They then embark on their journey. Upon reaching their homeland, the eager Geats rush to welcome them and transport their acquired spoils to King Hygelac. The returning Geats from Denmark make haste to present themselves to Hygelac.

Seating Beowulf by his side, Hygelac gladly offers him mead. Hygelac is delighted at his nephew's safe return, expressing his earlier fear of never witnessing his presence again. Beowulf recounts his daring combats with the two beasts, the trio of banquets, and the upcoming wedding of Freawaru to Ingeld, which he perceives as Hrothgar's vain attempt to alleviate the conflict between their nations.

When submitting the flag, helmet, armor, and sword bestowed upon him by Hrothgar to Hygelac, Beowulf provides a narrative of their lineage, as per Hrothgar's request. The quartet of horses is then introduced and handed over to Hygelac. Hygd receives the necklace gifted by Wealhtheow, Hrothgar's queen, and three additional horses. Hygelac presents the sword of his father and Beowulf's grandfather to the young Geat prince and gifts him lands and dwellings.

Despite having previously declined the crown, Beowulf concedes to take it following the demise of both Hygelac and his son, Herdred. His reign spans half a century, and he is aged when a dragon, awakened by a thief who pilfers one of its treasures, begins to wreak havoc on the land of the Geats.

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Lines 2,221–2,601 Summary and Analysis