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  • Across the sea, in order to

  • help Hrothgar, comes this young warrior.

  • He's a Geat, Beowulf is, and Beowulf the Geat

  • comes across the sea, hearing of the disaster that's happening in Heorot,

  • comes across the sea in order to stop the attacks of Grendel

  • that are occurring at Heorot. And he doesn't come

  • just for the sake of saving Hrothgar, notice

  • he comes also for glory. He's a young man and he wants to distinguish himself

  • and so he comes to

  • help out Hrothgar, but at the same time

  • it's a question of generosity that Beowulf

  • risks his life in order to free

  • Heorot from this awful beast and he crosses the sea

  • from Geatland, which is in the north down to Denmark,

  • more southerly, and this is the first of

  • several water crossings in the story. If you notice throughout the story there are several times

  • where the hero crosses over water, or goes into water.

  • And the water crossing is something which

  • is a natural symbol. Natural symbolism

  • is one of two types of symbolism, natural and conventional,

  • and conventional is agreed upon by a society, arbitrary,

  • natural symbolism is where the image by its very nature has in it the things

  • that

  • convey ideas to us. And so water is a natural symbol, it symbolizes darkness, and

  • malleability, protean world

  • view, it symbolizes all that

  • metaphysical world and in this

  • water crossing there's an image of him traveling into another world,

  • crossing over a boundary into some other world. And Beowulf crosses over from Geattland

  • into Denmark in order to engage in this first major adventure

  • with Grendel. When he comes up to

  • the Daneland there's a watchman on the cliff

  • and this would have been necessary in time of war, a watchman looking out over

  • the water to see

  • if anybody was going to be invading so he can run quickly to tell his Lord

  • about who they were. And when he sees this ship

  • land on his shore with all these warriors, heavily armed warriors, getting off

  • the first thing that he thinks is we're being attacked and so he goes and he

  • confronts Beowulf

  • rather roughly, rather abruptly, saying who are you, and why have you come to these shores?

  • This is also a hostility that emerges out of this fear or

  • terror that Grendel has instilled into the court.

  • The Grendel's attacks are not just dangerous because they kill men

  • directly or because they make Heorot an empty place,

  • they're also dangerous because they spread a certain

  • mental disease or spiritual disease, a Grendel mentality,

  • which is the mentality of distrust, and fear, and hatred.

  • And the watchmen pose as something of a threat to Beowulf therefore,

  • because he is challenging him directly.

  • If Beowulf gets mad at him and attacks him then he turns all of the

  • Danes against him and his whole mission is lost.

  • If on the other hand, he gets attacked, then his missions is lost because he could be

  • killed.

  • So he has to handle the situation rather delicately,

  • rather skillfully, and so when the watchman comes and says who are you,

  • Beowulf immediately tells his lineage, who he is, why he is there, he is there to help,

  • his Lord, and the watchman recognizes in him a fellow warrior another man of

  • greatness, and honor, and nobility

  • and consequently he's far more willing to take Beowulf up to his Lord

  • in Heorot to introduce them and

  • that's where we leave off this section and move into the next is that Beowulf travels

  • with

  • the watchmen up towards Heorot

  • to confront Grendel.

Across the sea, in order to

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B1 beowulf watchman symbolism water natural crossing

Beowulf Part 1 Analysis Video 2

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    Chia-Yin Huang posted on 2016/09/14
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