Lines 2631–2820

Summary

Wiglaf calls to the other ten retainers and reminds them of the promises that they made to Beowulf. In exchange for his protection and gifts, they all had vowed to fight for their king whenever he needed them. Even though Beowulf intended to deal with the dragon one-on-one, he now clearly needs help. The other thanes do not return.

Although he realizes that he may die in the battle, Wiglaf rushes to Beowulf’s defense. Wiglaf’s wooden shield burns as the dragon attacks again. The young retainer ducks behind Beowulf’s iron shield, which is no great help but is better than nothing. Beowulf musters the strength to swing his mighty sword, Naegling, one last time; unfortunately, it snaps on the dragons head. The dragon charges again, piercing Beowulf’s neck with his sharp fangs. Although his hand is sorely burned, Wiglaf finds a vulnerable spot well beneath the dragons head and thrusts his sword into the monster. The dragon’s fire decreases. Beowulf rallies to use his knife and is able to cut into the monster’s entrails, killing him. Realizing he is dying, Beowulf speaks his final words as Wiglaf attempts to comfort him.


Commentary

Wigla’s speech is an attempt to remind the other ten retainers of the honor code of comitatus and to shame them into action. In this system, a lord or king offers protection to his retainers (or thanes) and supports them with a share of booty, gifts, and even land. In exchange, the retainers pledge loyalty to the death on behalf of the ruler. Specifically, Wiglaf recalls a time when he and the ten other warriors received rings and the very armor that they now have with them from Beowulf. Consistent with the heroic code, they promised to come to his assistance if he ever needed them. Wiglaf rightly accuses them of running when they vowed to fight. He declares that he would rather be burned to death than to abandon his king, and he rushes to Beowulf’s assistance.

-56-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
CliffsNotes, Beowulf
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents v
  • How to Use This Book vi
  • Life and Background of the Poet 1
  • Introduction to Beowulf 5
  • Critical Commentaries 17
  • Lines 1 - 193 18
  • Lines 194 - 606 22
  • Lines 607 - 836 26
  • Lines 837 - 1062 30
  • Lines 1063 - 1250 33
  • Lines 1251 - 1491 36
  • Lines 1492 - 1650 39
  • Lines 1651 - 1887 42
  • Lines 1888 - 2199 45
  • Lines 2200 - 2400 49
  • Lines 2401 - 2630 53
  • Lines 2631 - 2820 56
  • Lines 2821 - 3182 59
  • Character Analyses 62
  • Critical Essays 71
  • CliffsNotes Review 79
  • CliffsNotes Resource Center 82
  • Index 86
  • Notes 90
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 93

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.