ome ummary hemes and definitions redits and links


eowulf Attacks the Dragon.

eowulf makes his final boast. He says that, even though he is old, he shall “still seek battle, perform a deed of fame” by killing the dragon. (Norton59)

e doesn't know how to grapple with the dragon, like he did with Grendel, so he will use a sword and shield. He tells his men that the outcome will be “with us at the wall as fate allots, the ruler of every man.” (59)
e tells them to let him fight the monster alone, “By my courage I will get gold, or war will take your king, dire life-evil.” (60)

*hese three quotations indicate pagan elements of glory, not Christian.*
eowulf approaches the barrow. From the stone arch, he feels the dragon’s fire emanating from within. He shouts at the dragon. The dragon knows he is there and breathes fire. Beowulf hits the dragon with his shield and draws his sword, “the old heirloom.” (60)
he dragon comes forward, “hastening to his fate,” (60) and breathes fire, but Beowulf is protected by his iron shield. But, “for the first time, the first day in his life, he might not prevail, since fate did not assign him such glory in battle.” (60)
eowulf strikes the dragon so hard with his sword, that the “edge failed.” (60) The “war blade had failed, naked at need, as it ought not to have done, iron good from old times.” (60)
*he sword is given living qualities*
he poet reminds the reader that “every man must give up the days that are lent him” (60), an elegaic theme that runs throughout the poem. Beowulf and the dragon come together again. The dragon breathes fire again and, for the first time in the poem, “he who before had ruled a folk felt harsh pain.” (60)
eanwhile his men flee to the woods, except for one. Wiglaf, son of Weohstan, a Scylfing, is “mindful of the honors he had given him before, the rich dwelling-place of the Waegmundings, every folk-right such as his father possessed.” (60-61)
iglaf, although never proven in battle, grabs his wooden shield and his sword, which was an heirloom of Eanmund. Wiglaf’s “heart’s courage did not slacken, nor did the heirloom of his kinsman fail him.” (61)
iglaf gives a speech reminding his companions about their duty which includes the only Christian reference in the passage. He says, “God knows of me that I should rather that the flame enfold my body with my gold-giver. It does not seem right to me for us to bear our shields home again unless we can first fell the foe, defend the life of the prince of the Weather-Geats.” (61)
*nother curious mixture of pagan and Christian ideas*
he passage ends with Wiglaf wading through the smoke to join Beowulf, who is encircled in the dragon's flames.