Modern readers may wonder why the Beowulf poet interrupts his narrative, just as the hero is setting foot on his homeland, to indulge in the elaborate contrast between Geatland's Queen Hygd and the murderous Queen Modthrytho. When the scop performed the story of Finnsburh at Heorot (1063 ff.), the interlude was a logical extension of the dramatic situation, a celebration in honor of Beowulf at which such a story might well be told. Here, the action simply stops. Beowulf has just arrived home. He is about to receive his welcome. It is a moment of some emotion and dramatic intensity. So the poet interrupts to give us a little lesson on the qualities of a proper queen. Hygd is a proper queen — generous, courteous and wise beyond her years. There is considerable scholarship on who she and Modthrytho might have been and why the poet makes so much of them. For our purposes, perhaps it
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