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Familial and Marital Relationships in Beowulf

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Familial and Marital Relationships in Beowulf

 

Two Works Cited    To the reader of Old English Beowulf the familial and marital relationships are not so very obvious, especially when one is concentrating all of one’s mental energies on translating the thousand-year-old vocabulary of the poem. The following essay is intended to clarify those relationships while proceeding sequentially through the poem.

 

First of all, Scyld Scefing, historic king of the Danes (Scyldings), had a son Beow(ulf) to occupy the throne: “Then in the strongholds [Beow] the Scylding was king of all Denmark, beloved by his people” (53-55). Then [Beow] “had a son in his turn, Healfdene the great, who, while he lived, aged, war-fierce, ruled lordly Scyldings” (56-58). Healfdene’s progeny were numerous: “From Healfdene are numbered four children in all; from the leader of armies they woke to the world, Heorogar, Hrothgar, and Halga the good; it is told that [Yrse was Onela's] queen”(59-62). Heorogar fathered Heoroweard; Halga fathered Hrothulf who lived with Hrothgar (“the migh...

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