Thursday, February 3, 2011

Letters of Wealhtheow

Night Beowulf Arrived.
My Dearest King Hrothgar,
I am deeply satisfied that Beowulf has undertaken the duty to destroy the creature that has been ravishing our dearest Herot. We have come to the point in this fight in which any savior is welcome here, even if he is of the party of which we have dueled, the Geats. If he succeeds our land will return to its lavish splendor and we can resume our reign of glory, providing for our people. However, I must confide in you that I am also troubled about his entrance into our land. I have little faith that he shall succeed in conquering this Grendel, but I have hope too that he shall. In the latter case I fear for our land.

Such fear for our land arises from the simple political threat he poses. Suppose he does overtake Grendel, what then? I am fearful that he shall prove to our commoners that his power can overtake yours, dearest king. He has no permanent place here, though I shall be most thankful for his efforts towards our safety and the safety of our own people. Even if another one of the evilest kind, another creature of Cain’s descendents came to us with the pledge to defeat Grendel I would be most pleased, as long as such a creature were to depart as soon as Grendel was slain. I do not mean to compare Beowulf to a descendent of Cain, however, I simply state this to illustrate the acceptance I—as well as you should be—of any person or creature coming to save our lands.

Beowulf has been good to us on this night, I applaud his ways at misguiding Unferth’s accusations. I had, within every fiber of my being, expected an uproar between the two earlier. This may show he does have heart, and maybe my fears are misplaced, but we can never be too sure. All I say is this: be careful if Beowulf does defeat Grendel. We shall reward him well, well enough he will want to journey home and show his king, Hygelac, that we have appreciated his efforts. Reward him not enough and he may try for more.
Your Wealhtheow
Night Grendel Slain.
Again, Dearest Hrothgar,
Grendel has been defeated. You have graciously bestowed many of gifts on Beowulf and his men. I graciously accept the amount of which you have graced, it is indeed enough for Beowulf to boast within his own land. The festivities tonight were glorious and I am pleased that Beowulf had accepted my speech. He treated the boys with gentle ease and kind affection, I may have misjudged his character in the beginning but I now can believe he will not try to overtake your kingly position unless provoked. He must still go back to his own land although and I do not appreciate you adopting him over our own son’s, but if there were a time in which our sons and we perished, I could not think of a better king. You, once again, have proved to be an amazing king over this land.
Your Wealhtheow
Night Grendel’s Mother Slain.
Lastly, Dearest Hrothgar,
In the unforeseeable turn of events, the mother of the last creature has taken our beloved elder. I share your sorrow in this time of mourning, but I am very appreciative of our dear Beowulf. I know that no other man could have ventured the depths or fought with the strength that he had. I can now understand your total devotion to this man and I now admit I share in your love. I cannot think of a better protector for our children in the case that we perish and he has the ruling chair. I can hope with a fierce heart that our sons will rise to the level that Beowulf has, but I know within that this is such an impossibility. Neither of our sons has displayed the strength or courage yet, and I am sure this must spawn at an early age.
We owe our lives to Beowulf, I can understand this. As much as I am hesitant to admit it, he has done us a deep service that I am positive no one. I will unconditionally accept him into our family.
Your Wealhtheow

1 comment:

  1. What are you really adding to the story here, as far as either events or analysis go? *Most* of this material is just summarization of what happens in the poem. While you do, to some extent, elaborate on W.'s character, much of that actually repeats things said in class.

    So I'm close to just dismissing this as a summary of events from the poem, without substance. However, one substantial idea pops out at me - I wish you had developed it, and I think it could be developed in a revision.

    A W. who understands Beowulf as, in his own way, being like another child of Cain is insightful, a little unexpected, and helps to elaborate on the poem's critique of violence (even though it has lots of violence within it). This is a substantial, interesting idea, which might have remained your focus throughout. Unfortunately, you drop the most interesting part of your piece as soon as it comes up.