Celebration at Neorot
Beowulf returns to the great Heorot Hall after slaying Grendel’s mother in an underwater battle. The death of Grendel and Grendel’s mother is a sign of the victory of good over evil. Grendel and his mother are vicious evil monsters. All the happy Geats listen as Beowulf recounts his underwater battle with Grendel’s mother. Beowulf credits God for his victory, saying, "The fight would have ended straightway if God had not guarded me" (Norton, 48). Beowulf offers the hilt to Hrothgar who carefully examines the melted sword, a work of giants, and "on which was written the origin of ancient strife, when the flood, rushing water, slew the race of giants"(48).
Hrothgar then speaks to Beowulf about pride. Hrothgar praises Beowulf for what he has done for the Danes, but later warns him of the dangers incurred by the selfish king Heremod as an example of the evil appeal of power. Hrothgar says, "He grew great not for their joy, but for their slaughter, for destruction of Danish people. With swollen heart he killed his table-companions, shoulder-comrades, until he turned away from the joys of men, alone, notorious king, although mighty God had praised him in power, in the joys of strength, had set him up over all men." (49).
Heremod is the selfish king who kills his own men. He is bloodthirsty with power and thus feels no joy. Nor does he receive any respect from his men. The story of Heremod shows that the corrupt use of power and fame can result in isolation and disrespect. Hrothgar’s speech continues as he gives thanks to God for giving humans wisdom. After the speech, Hrothgar invites Beowulf to feast once more with the Danes. The following morning, Beowulf and his men in armor are very eager to depart for home.
Beowulf shows further in the passage Further Celebration at Heorot that he is a thoughtful and polite man. He shows this in several ways. He gives the hilt of the sword that has killed Grendel’s mother to Hrothgar as a sign of respect for his position as the Dane’s king. He also does not forget to thank Unferth for the loan of his sword, Hrunting, even though it has been of absolutely no help to him in the fight.
We are given a glimpse of Hrothgar’s wise character when he delivers the speech on pride to Beowulf.