Anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet
Contributed by Karim Chandra
Lines 1-63

The story begins with a tale of a legendary Danish king as well as stating some of the heroic acts that he was able to engage in to bring a lot of value to his people. The heroic acts of the legendary king set the tone for the story, which helps to captivate and motivate the reader into reading the poem further to determine some of the events that took place within, which bear a potential of shaping the general outline and outcome documented within the story. One also has the potential to establish some of the acts that are deemed desirable in Denmark and which other people may be more willing to follow through to achieve success in their endeavors.

The story also describes the funeral of Shield Sheafson in details. Sheafson was Hroghgar’s ancestor. He was also an impeccable king who was highly skilled and keen on meeting the needs of his people in the most effective manner. To that end, he had the opportunity to detail some of the steps that people in Denmark would need to take to become worthwhile members of the society. The concept was also important in showing people within Denmark that they had an important role to play concerning keeping alive some of the values and beliefs that Sheafson stood for. To that end, they had an opportunity to look up-to-the ancestor as an embodiment of true leadership and servanthood towards them. He was also an elegant warrior was selfless in protecting his people.  The story goes on to state how leadership within Denmark has been passed down generations to other people.


Beowulf begins with providing a background on the ancestry of King Hrothgar. The story, therefore, shows that Hrothgar is a descendant of a great warrior whose actions are praised both in life and death. The vivid description of the lineage of King Hrothgar, as well as the detailed explanation of the burial of his ancestor, Shield Sheafson, is a show of the noble nature of Hrothgar’s ancestry. The story also acts as a justification of the need for Beowulf to remain highly loyal. It also shows that great need that Beowulf in assisting the king to defeat the different evil forces that enter the kingdom and play a part in destabilizing some of the normal events that do take place within. The section also introduces as well as explains the main theme as depicted in the poem. The theme is the heroic code. The description of Shield Sheafson shows a foundation of deeds, ethics, and accomplishments that are consistent with the tenets of the heroic code.

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