This paper describes how the small stories incorporated within Beowulf act as a sort of foretelling to what may happen later on in the poem.

Essay by saraspanksterUniversity, Bachelor'sA, November 2003

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The Foretelling That Fools

There are many digressions in Beowulf that are truly

notable enough to be discussed. Not only are these

digressions a form of character development but also serve

as a foreshadowing toward other events that happen later in

the text. Several of the digressions link Beowulf to many

historical figures. These digressions help the reader to

prepare for what may come. The tale of Sigemund and the

dragon greatly reflects Beowulf's character and also gives

a preview to Beowulf's fate.

The tales that foreshadow many of the events in

Beowulf are commonly told by the scop. A scop is an Anglo

Saxon court poet who sings historic tales to entertain the

court and guests. The role of the scop in medieval times

was quite important. While he did not perform any large

tasks in battle, his part as a historian has made a huge

impact on history.

During the medieval times, the only

source of recording material was the mind. The scop told

of great and imaginative stories that were passed from

generation to generation through oral tradition.

After Beowulf wounds Grendel in the mead hall by

pulling his arm from his socket, King Hrothgar holds an

enormous celebration in Beowulf's honor. At this feast,

a Danish scop tells of a knightly tale in which a valiant

man named Sigemund fights a huge serpent. In return for

his heroic deeds, Sigemund is granted the treasure in which

the serpent guarded. The scop sings this certain tale to

compare Beowulf to Sigemund. Both men are strong and brave

and both men accept treasure in return for their acts.

While Sigemund obtains the serpents treasure, Beowulf

receives gold rewards from King Hrothgar.

The tale of Sigemund describes a fearless man with

incredible physical ability, distinguished for...