Chapter I: Three Worlds Meet - historie
Summary: Many people believes that the first Americans arrived as early as 22, years ago. During the Ice Age, glaciers has fozen and a landbridge was form. Victoria Symons puzzles out the meaning of monsters in Beowulf, By ' irrelevancies', Ker means the three monster fights that make up most not met in the world, in any corner of the earth, a greater handgrip in another man'], (ll. . the poem's human characters live and die by the generosity of their rulers. Loyalty A theme in a literary work is a recurring, unifying subject or idea, a motif that allows us to understand more deeply the character and their world. In.
In "Three Worlds Meet: Europe, Africa, and the Americas" our scholars look at conditions in England and the Americas before English colonization began; they create a context for understanding Indian and African enslavement; and they examine the perils of traveling the waters that connect peoples of each continent to one another. The stories they tell are more complex than the traditional tales of heroes and victims. What unfolds in these essays is an understanding of social practices and governmental policies, cultural differences and similarities, economic exploitation, and the risks involved as Europeans expanded their reach across the ocean.
Taken together, these essays provide the classroom teacher with the historical context in which the early English settlements such as Jamestown and Plymouth were founded. In "Change and Crisis: From the rise of the Iroquois Confederation to the rise and fall of the urban centers of the Mississippi River region to the crises faced by the Anasazi and Mogollons of the Southwest, Miller effectively challenges older notions of a North American continent devoid of true civilization or populated by societies built exclusively on warfare.
Hammer shows us the role that English politics and warfare played in the growth of England's empire. Hammer's essay helps us see why England was slow to join the European transatlantic expansion—and looks at the great rivalries between England and the other European powers.
His essay reminds us that the emergence of racial definitions of slavery — the association of the institution with Africans alone—was a slow historical process. We have heard of the glory of the kings who ruled the Danes in olden times.
Scyld Scefing often drove enemy warriors from their mead-hall benches, although he himself had once been a destitute foundling. In spite of this he came to prosper. With time all the neighboring tribes served him and paid him tribute. That was a good king! Scyld died at the fated time. Following his wishes, his body was placed on a well-outfitted ship, laden with treasures and weapons. Then his kinsmen let the sea bear him away.
No one on earth knows who received that ship's cargo. Beowulf and Grendel 1 Following Scyld's death the kingship of the Danes passed to Scyld's son Beowulf [not the hero of this epic], then in turn to his son Healfdene, then to his son Hrothgar.
Each of these successors proved to be a venerable leader. I have heard tell how Hrothgar had a great mead-hall built. It was larger and grander than any such hall that anyone had ever heard of. He named the great hall Heorot. Here, with great ceremony, he dispensed lavish gifts to young and old, thus giving thanks for his own victories and prosperity.
Not long afterward the hall's merriment was brought to an end by a grim foe named Grendel, who haunted marshes and moors, fens and heath. This wretched being, along with monsters, elves, sea-beasts, and giants, was a descendent of Cain, whom the Lord had banished from mankind for the slaying of Abel. Following an evening of mead drinking, the Danish warriors were fast asleep.
Grendel seized thirty of them, then carried them back to his lair. At dawn the survivors discovered their great loss.
They saw the monster's tracks leading away from Heorot, but it was too late to save his victims. These loathsome attacks continued for twelve winters.
Night after night Grendel haunted the misty moors, pursuing his victims. Nor was anyone safe in Heorot, where he attacked at will. Many of the grief-stricken Danes, seeing no other source of help, returned to their old heathen faith.
Woe unto him who thus rejects the Lord. Beowulf, a thane of Hygelac, King of the Geats, heard of Grendel's deeds and resolved to come to the Danes' rescue. No one faulted him for this decision. He was a proven hero. Beowulf had a ship outfitted for the journey, then chose fifteen warriors to accompany him. A skilled mariner pointed out the landmarks to them. Driven by the wind, the ship sped across the waves. On the second day the sailors caught sight of gleaming cliffs and broad headlands.
They went ashore and secured their ship. A Danish guard saw them from the cliff as they came ashore with their shields and weapons.
This thane of Hrothgar approached them on horseback.
From The Editor
Waving his spear he challenged them with these words: I am a member of the coastguard, charged with protecting the Danish land. Never have I seen a band of warriors try to land here more openly than you have done. Who is your brave leader, and what is his lineage?
I am the son of a noble prince named Ecgtheow. We have come to serve the mighty lord of the Danes. We have heard that some secret destroyer causes great terror among the Scyldings on dark nights. I intend to help Hrothgar overcome this foe. Beowulf and his men hurried onward. The boar-images glistened above the cheek-guards on their helmets.
The men followed this path to the great hall. Leaning their shields against the wall, they sat down upon the benches [outside the hall]. A warrior asked the heroes about their lineage: I am Hrothgar's servant and herald. Never before have I seen such a band of strangers in such a courageous mood. Beowulf is my name.
Seamus Heaney on BEOWULF
I will reveal my errand to the son of Healfdene, your great king, if you will take us to him. They call their chieftain Beowulf.
They have requested to speak with you. His father was called Ecgtheow, and he has come as a loyal friend. Moreover, seafarers have reported here that Beowulf is strong in battle.
Beowulf: A Summary in English Prose
The grip of his hand is said to have the strength of thirty men. Bid him and his band of kinsmen welcome among the Danish people. Wulfgar came to the door of the hall and announced from within: You are welcome here.
You may come inside to Hrothgar, wearing your armor and helmets, but leave your spears outside until after you have spoken. In my native land I learned of Grendel's deeds. Seafarers report that this great hall is useless for all men after nightfall.
Knowing my great strength, my people urged me to come to your aid. They have seen me return from battle stained with the blood of my foes. I have destroyed a race of giants and have slain sea-beasts by night. Now I have come to cleanse Heorot of the evil that has come upon it. Furthermore, I have learned that Grendel, the giant monster, has no fear of weapons, so I will fight him with my bare hands, without sword or shield.
If I fail, have no concern about my burial; Grendel will devour my corpse. Do, however, send my chainmail back to Hygelac. It is the best of armor, inherited from Hrethel [Beowulf's grandfather], and the work of Weland [a legendary smith]. It is with sorrow that I tell what shame and grief Grendel has caused.
Many of my best warriors have fallen victim to his horrid clutch. Often my warriors have boastfully vowed while drinking their ale to take vengeance, but the next morning the mead-hall has been stained with their blood. Join us now in a feast and share with my men how you plan to achieve victory. A bard sang with a clear voice. The assembled warriors rejoiced, Geats and Danes alike.
No one could turn you away from the foolhardy venture, and the two of you swam out into the ocean. For seven nights the two of you battled the waters, but he had the greater strength, and he outlasted you. The waves drove him ashore on the coast of Norway, and he was proclaimed the winner. I expect even worse results for you with your contest against Grendel. Now I will tell the truth of what happened. When we were still boys Breca and I had boasted that one day we would test our strength at sea; and we did as we had spoken in our youth.
To defend ourselves against whales we swam carrying naked swords in our hands. Neither of us could gain an advantage over the other one, and thus we swam together for five nights, until finally the cold waves drove us apart.
The sea-fish grew angry, but my shirt of chainmail protected me. An evil monster dragged me to the bottom, but I was able to stab the creature with the point of my sword, and then dispatched him with my hand. Never again would they hinder seafarers. With the morning light the waves were stilled. Destiny had not doomed me to die. Instead, I had slain nine sea monsters with my sword. I escaped from all these perils, and the current finally carried me to the land of the Finns.
Unferth, I have never heard of such exploits on your part. No, neither you nor Breca has ever performed so goodly. If you were as fierce in battle as you claim to be, the heath monster Grendel would not have been so successful in his attacks against the Danish people.
He kills and feasts without fear of the Danes, but I will show him the strength and courage of the Geats. After that whoever will may drink mead in this great hall without fear.
Laughter and joyous words rang throughout the hall. Trusting in his own strength and in the Lord's favor, he took off his chainmail and helmet, and gave his sword to a thane for safekeeping. All the watchmen save one fell asleep. Beowulf waited and watched. Heorot's door, although secured with fire-hardened bands, opened at his first touch. However, when it comes to considering Beowulf as a work of literature, one publication stands out.
Inthe Oxford scholar and teacher J. Tolkien assumed that the poet had felt his way through the inherited material — the fabulous elements and the traditional accounts of an heroic past — and by a combination of creative intuition and conscious structuring had arrived at a unity of effect and a balanced order. He assumed in other words, that the Beowulf poet was an imaginative writer rather than some kind of back-formation derived from nineteenth-century folklore and philology. It is impossible to attain a full understanding and estimate of Beowulf without recourse to this immense body of commentary and elucidation.
Nevertheless, readers coming to the poem for the first time are likely to experience something other than mere discomfiture when faced with the strangeness of the names and the immediate lack of known reference points. These epics may be in Greek and Latin, yet the classical heritage has entered the cultural memory enshrined in English so thoroughly that their worlds are more familiar than that of the first native epic, even thought it was composed centuries after them.
Achilles rings a bell, not Scyld Sc fing. Ithaca leads the mind in a certain direction, but not Heorot. The Sibyl of Cumae will stir certain associations, but not bad Queen Modthryth. This is because the poem possesses a mythic potency. Like Shield Sheafson as Scyld Sc fing is known in this translationit arrived from somewhere beyond the known bourne of our experience, and having fulfilled its purpose again like Shield it passes once more into the beyond.
These opening and closing scenes retain a haunting presence in the mind; they are set pieces but they have the life-marking power of certain dreams. They are like the pillars of the gate of horn, through which the wise dreams of true art can still be said to pass.
What happens in between is what W. Yeats would have called a phantasmagoria. If we think of the poem in this way, its place in world art becomes clearer and more secure. We can conceive of it re-presented and transformed in performance in a bunraku theatre in Japan, where the puppetry and the poetry are mutually supportive, a mixture of technicolor spectacle and ritual chant.
Or we can equally envisage it as an animated cartoon and there has been at least one shot at this alreadyfull of mutating graphics and minatory stereophonics. Nevertheless, the dream element and overall power to haunt come at a certain readerly price. The poem abounds in passages that will leave an unprepared audience bewildered. Just when the narrative seems ready to take another step ahead, it sidesteps. For a moment it is as if we have been channel-surfed into another poem, and at two points in this translation I indicate that we are in fact participating in a poem-within-our-poem not only by the use of italics, but by a slight quickening of pace and shortening of metrical rein.
The claustrophobic and doomladen atmosphere of this interlude gives the reader an intense intimation of what wyrd, or fate, meant not only to the character in the Finn story but to those participating in the main action of Beowulf itself. All conceive of themselves as hooped within the great wheel of necessity, in thrall to a code of loyalty and bravery, bound to seek glory in the eye of the warrior world. The little nations are grouped around their lord; the greater nations spoil for war and menace the little ones; a lord dies, defencelessness ensues; the enemy strikes; vengeance for the dead becomes an ethic for the living, bloodshed begets further bloodshed; the wheel turns, the generations tread and tread and tread — which is what I meant above when I said that the import of the Finnsburg passage is central to the historical and imaginative worlds of the poem as a whole.
But it also comes from without, from the Heathobards, for example, whom the Danes have defeated in battle and from whom they can therefore expect retaliatory war see lines But this security is only temporary, for it is the destiny of the Geat people to be left lordless in the end.
Hence it comes to pass that after the death of Beowulf, who eventually succeeds Hygelac, the Geats experience a great foreboding and the poem closes in a mood of sombre expectation. A world is passing away, the Swedes and others are massing on the borders to attack and there is no lord or hero to rally the defence. The Swedes, therefore, are the third nation whose history and destiny are woven into the narrative, and even though no part of the main action is set in their territory, they and their kings constantly stalk the horizon of dread within which the main protagonists pursue their conflicts and allegiances.
But there is another, outer rim of value, a circumference of understanding within which the heroic world is occasionally viewed as from a distance and recognized for what it is, an earlier state of consciousness and culture, one that has not been altogether shed but that has now been comprehended as part of another pattern.
As a consequence of his doctrinal certitude, which is as composed as it is ardent, the port can view the story-time of his poem with a certain historical detachment and even censure the ways of those who lived in illo tempore: Sometimes at pagan shrines they vowed Offerings to idols, swore oaths That the killer of souls might come to their aid And save the people.
That was their way, Their heathenish hope; deep in their hearts They remembered hell. It is always better To avenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning. For every one of us, living in this world Means waiting for our end.
Let whoever can Win glory before death.