CloseReadingBeowulf1

CloseReadingBeowulf1 - menace underwater may mean the demon...

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Amy Sexton 9/11/08 English 215 Christopher Manslanka Close Reading of Beowulf Lines 1444-1446 (Line 1444) “would soon meet with the menace underwater. It would keep the bone-cage of his body safe: no enemy’s clasp could crush him in it,” In lines 1444 to 1446, Beowulf is getting ready to fight Grendel’s Mother. His armor is the basis of this section of lines in the poem. It’s interesting that the author uses the word “meet” in the first line. The armor may “meet” a monster or another creature facing Beowulf; will it always protect him? The poet seems to think so, and continues to talk about the armor further in lines later. The “menace underwater” can refer to a few ideas. It could foreshadow Beowulf’s plight later in the poem when he swims to the bottom of the sea where no man has ever gone. It could also refer to a menace such as a demon or devil underneath a cover, hiding. The shield hides Beowulf from danger; the
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Unformatted text preview: menace underwater may mean the demon hiding beneath the shield within Beowulf. This might help prove Beowulfs less human qualities. It is also interesting that the poet uses the word would throughout these lines. This could also foreshadow Beowulfs death later on in the poem, where the shield does not protect him enough from his fate. It would keep the bone-cage of his body safe may refer to the actual skeleton of Beowulf. The bone-cage may also refer to the shield itself; the poet seems to personify the shield. No enemys clasp could crush him in it. It is interesting that the author uses the possessive tense for the word enemy. Besides the fact that it describes clasp, the poet may be referring to one enemy in particular. The author, perhaps, is using a pun on words and almost sarcastically stating that the one enemy will break through the armor to end Beowulfs life....
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This note was uploaded on 04/06/2009 for the course ENGLISH 215 taught by Professor Reames during the Spring '08 term at Wisconsin.

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CloseReadingBeowulf1 - menace underwater may mean the demon...

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