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Relaunching the Hero: The Case of Scyld and Beowulf Re-Opened

By David Clark


The portrait of Scyld with which Beowulf begins sets up a paradigm of heroic society which the rest of the poem gradually shows to be unworkable. Specific treasures are given negative associations in the poem; the possession of treasure does not equate with worth, it fails to ensure loyalty and is finally designated as useless. The poem implies that a society based on the acquisition and distribution of treasure is doomed to feud and ineluctable decline

Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1007/s11061-005-4255-9
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