Hamlet is debating himself between what is going around him about what is really happening and his illusions. He is not certain that if what he sees, meaning his death father. Hamlet puts himself in a situation where he does not have the courage to accept he wants to kill his uncle.
These early conflicts represent a rite of passage that rulers in the real world of the early Middle Ages had to go through as they came of age. Beowulf is of royal blood, but must prove himself in battle before he can take his rightful place as his father's heir: In the final section of the poem, however, Beowulf is, in his own right, King of the Geats a people who lived in part of what is now Swedena successful warrior and respected ruler.
One might think that he had nothing more to prove, but that's not how early Medieval kingship worked: Beowulf's last encounter is with a different sort of monster, a dragon: He ruled it well for fifty winters, grew old and wise as warden of the land until one began to dominate the dark, a dragon on the prowl from the steep vaults of a stone-roofed barrow where he guarded a hoard; there was a hidden passage, unknown to men, but someone managed to enter by it and interfere with the heathen trove.
He had handled and removed a gem-studded goblet; Blaming in home burial essay gained him nothing, though with a thief's wiles he had outwitted the sleeping dragon; that drove him into rage, as the people of that country would soon discover.
The awakened dragon wreaks vengeance on the entire community, and, although he was not the thief, it is Beowulf's duty, as protector of his people, to deal with it, even at the cost of his own life.
The "barrow" is recognisable as a burial mound, thousands of years older than the Seventh or Eighth Century poem. Since it is in Scandinavia, it is probably a Neolithic "passage grave," built by early farming people between five and six thousand years ago, but the "long-barrows" of England and Wales are of similar antiquity and significance.
The "passage grave" of Tustrup, Denmark. Malene Thyssen licensed under GNU. The "long barrow" of Wayland's Smithy, Oxfordshire. Dick Bauch licensed under CCA. Wayland the Smith is a figure from Anglo-Saxon and Nordic mythology, so the monument must have been known to the contemporaries of the Beowulf poet.
Although the Stone Age people who built these monuments had no knowledge of metal-working, objects of bronze and gold were sometimes placed in them by later people, either as ritual offerings or for safekeeping. There are also individual burial mounds, "round barrows," built during the Bronze Age, three to four thousand years ago, both in England and Scandinavia.
Jim Champion licensed under CCA. For the people of the Middle Ages, prehistoric burial mounds whether "passage graves," "long barrows," or "round barrows" were distinctive features of the landscape, places of mystery and fear, but also places where a man, if he were brave enough, might dig in search of treasure.
Fae licensed under CCA. The Ringlemere gold cup is of similar antiquity it may even have been made by the same goldsmithand was found on a site in Kent where Anglo-Saxon burial mounds sit alongside those of the Bronze Age.
Dominic Coyne licensed under CCA. The "passage grave" of Maes Howe, on the Mainland of Orkney, provides a remarkable parallel to the story of Beowulf.
The Orkneyinga Saga tells how, in the yeara party of Norsemen entered the monument, and took refuge there: During a snowstorm they took shelter in Maeshowe, and two of his men went insane, which slowed them down badly, so that, by the time they reached Firth, it was night time.
Tim Bekaert image is in the Public Domain. The archaeological evidence shows that Maes Howe really was entered, on at least one occasion, by Medieval Norsemen, who carved runic inscriptions on the stone walls.
Some of these are timeless and predictable graffiti: Lif, the Earl's cook, carved these runes. To the north-west is a great treasure hidden. It was long ago that a great treasure was hidden here.
Happy is he that might find that great treasure. Hakon alone bore treasure from this mound, signed, Simon Sirith. Islandhopper licensed under GNU. The"dragon" of Maes Howe. There is even a picture of a dragon. Was it fear of this that drove later intruders insane? Did Hakon and Simon Sirith really find treasure, or had their imaginations been ignited by an oral performance of Beowulf, or a similar poem?
Might it really still have been being performed almost certainly in another language - Old Norse, rather than Anglo-Saxonfive centuries after it was composed, and one hundred and fifty years after the only written version to have survived was placed in a monastic library?
Neither history nor archaeology provide definitive answers to these questions, but fiction can travel where the historian and archaeologist cannot go. Tolkien, who taught Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, and translated "Beowulf," drew extensively on the poem, and on the tradition to which it belongs, in his own fictional writing image reproduced under fair usage protocols.
Mark Patton blogs regularly on aspects of history and historical fiction at http: Posted by Mark Patton at In "Home Burial," the overall theme of the story centers on the importance of communication in a relationship.
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