One of the themes of the poem is that man's fortunes change, and he should celebrate but take care when fortune seems to turn his way because disaster may visit soon. One must not tempt the gods of irony. The Geats and Danes unwisely assume that victory is complete with the death of Grendel. For now, however, everything is celebration. Warriors who trembled and hid from Grendel boldly track his footprints to the lake where he apparently has died. Scholars delight in the account of the scop 's performance and his improvisation on the way back to Heorot. He tells the "great old stories" (869) in honor of Beowulf's victory, including the tale of courageous Sigemund, whose killing of the dragon foreshadows Beowulf's final battle and his death. The Beowulf poet thus subtly implies that all glory is fleeting and that death waits for all (1002 ff.). The
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This note was uploaded on 11/29/2011 for the course ENG 1320 taught by Professor Bost during the Fall '09 term at Texas State.