By this time, Beowulf is about 70 years old and he hears of the dragon burning his land and scaring his people. He finds out that the reason the dragon is so angry is because a "plated cup" has been stolen from his hoard.
Apparently, a slave needed to pay his master in order for him to not be punished or even killed. (the story does not mention in detail what the slave has done to be put in this situation. However, pagan belief explains that if one kills another, the dead's kin can either revenge his/her death or the one who killed must pay a certain amount to compensate for the death. Thus, one can assume that the slave may have killed or have been accused of killing one of the master's kin.)
Beowulf recollects the past defeats he has had and how God has always
been on his side (a Christian element here). He believes that he can take on the dragon by
himself. And if he is not able to kill it, at least he will die trying (a hero to the very
The Tale of Beowulf
Note from the Editors