The Warrior's Body As a Trophy...

As the battle between Beowulf and Grendel begins, the hero notices a pouch attached to the monster's belt. It seems that this is some sort of trophy bag where he puts the remains of his victims. His pouch is not mentioned during the original account of the battle, but it is added here in Beowulf's conversation with King Hygelac. Perhaps it is added to further describe the nature of the beast. What kind of creature carries a bag containing his victims' remains? The addition of the part about Grendel's pouch further shows how much terror and death the monster causes. Grendel normally has so many victims that he must bring this bag so that he can carry them back to his lair. This is startling proof of the very devilishness of Grendel's nature:

He had this roomy pouch,
a strange accoutrement, intricately strung
and hung at the ready, a rare patchwork
of devilishly fitted dragon-skins,
I had done him no wrong, yet the raging demon
wanted to cram me and many another
into this bag-but it was not to be
once I got to my feet in a blind fury. (2085-2092)

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