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This Paper Describes How The Small Stories Incorporated Within Beowulf Act As A Sort Of Foretelling To What May Happen Later On In The Poem.

909 words - 4 pages

The Foretelling That FoolsThere are many digressions in Beowulf that are trulynotable enough to be discussed. Not only are thesedigressions a form of character development but also serveas a foreshadowing toward other events that happen later inthe text. Several of the digressions link Beowulf to manyhistorical figures. These digressions help the reader toprepare for what may come. The tale of Sigemund and thedragon greatly reflects Beowulf's character and also givesa preview to Beowulf's fate.The tales that foreshadow many of the events inBeowulf are commonly told by the scop. A scop is an AngloSaxon court poet who sings historic tales to entertain thecourt and guests. The role of the scop in medieval timeswas quite important. While he did not perform any largetasks in battle, his part as a historian has made a hugeimpact on history. During the medieval times, the onlysource of recording material was the mind. The scop toldof great and imaginative stories that were passed fromgeneration to generation through oral tradition.After Beowulf wounds Grendel in the mead hall bypulling his arm from his socket, King Hrothgar holds anenormous celebration in Beowulf's honor. At this feast,a Danish scop tells of a knightly tale in which a valiantman named Sigemund fights a huge serpent. In return forhis heroic deeds, Sigemund is granted the treasure in whichthe serpent guarded. The scop sings this certain tale tocompare Beowulf to Sigemund. Both men are strong and braveand both men accept treasure in return for their acts.While Sigemund obtains the serpents treasure, Beowulfreceives gold rewards from King Hrothgar.The tale of Sigemund describes a fearless man withincredible physical ability, distinguished for slaying agreat serpent. Sigemund is instructed to slay a dragon whois guarding a vast treasure. Sigemund digs a hole to hidein and waits until the dragon approaches the water beforethrusting up from under it with his sword (Beowulf and theDragon, 148-210).The story of Beowulf and the story of Sigemund arevery much alike. Not only do both heroes face a giantdragon in their struggles, but both are also gifted withthe incredible sense of valor and strength that it takes todefeat such a monstrous creature. Both men also kill thedragon in the same fashion by wounding the dragon in thestomach. Beowulf is also unlike Sigemund in many ways.Beowulf seems to have more courage than Sigemund. WhileSigemund waits in a hole for the dragon, like a coward,Beowulf approaches the dragon while brandishing his sword.While Beowulf may be more courageous, Sigemund had morebrains. After all, Sigemund was still alive after slayingthe dragon. Perhaps Sigemund's tactics worked better thanthose of Beowulf.With many similar characteristics in both men, how isit possible that the more fearless can fail? Sigemund wasin greater condition to fight the dragon than Beowulf...

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