Saturday, February 12, 2011

prompt 3

Zach Duggan

Prompt 3

In the article, Resollving the “Double Curse” of the Pagan Hoard in Beowulf, J.D. Thayer tries to dictate the value of the Paganism curse placed on the dragons hoard in Beowulf. In Beowulf we discuss the religious elements and hidden meanings for certain characters and situations. For example we took the scene of Beowulf when he defeats Grendel and emerges out of the blood soaked lake with a melted sword that has taken the shape of a cross to symbolize Christ. When reading this poem I have found many scenes and situations to have underlying meanings to them. In this article Thayer addresses the curse on the Pagan hoard.

He first argues in the article of the confusion the translation of the epic poem of the burial of the treasure and how it has become on this earth. Thayer states,” how is the hoard buried by a single survivor, but a group of princes were the ones who cursed it?”[1] I believe Thayer addresses an important point here and shows the confusion the poet is leaving us the reader with. Yet when Thayer states “ …the curse says that no one might hrinan, literally touch by implication ‘posses’ the hoard, except the warrior whom God considered worthy.” [2] The problem and confusion Thayer calls to mind here is that warrior so great worthy of touching the hoard as approved by God, Beowulf, is not the first to touch the hoard.

I believe Thayer calling to mind that Beowulf is not the first person to touch the hoard translates into when were discussing in class the ways Beowulf in the end is a man like any other. We discussed when Beowulf is on his deathbed and asks to see the treasure as a point he is into the humanistic faults we all have, such as greed and pleasure, and he is committing sin. Therefore since the drunk is the first man to have touched the hoard it proves that Beowulf although a great warrior may not have been approved by God as a warrior worthy of touching the treasure.

Throughout the poem we are explained Beowulf as a superior being. He shows his dominance in the three great battles of his and ruling the Geatish people and helping their survival. Yet in the end of the poem instead of looking out for the good of his people he abandons them to test his courage and strength. Thayer discusses the meanings of the curse on the hoard. I believe an underlying curse of the hoard is that is something no one man can handle, not even the best man of all men, Beowulf. For a man trying to achieve the treasure he is simply going half the distance every step therefore never truly going to reach its capabilities, this is the true curse of the hoard.

[1] Thayer, J.D>. "Resolving the "Double Curse" of the Pagan Hoard in Beowulf." Explicator 66.3 (2008): 176. Print.

[2] Thayer, pg 176


  1. At some point I'm going to need to tell people to not do things from the Explicator. Not because you don't do it reasonably well, but just because it's leading people (from both my classes) into very short readings, and many of those very short readings lead to awkwardly short essays.

    That being said, I think you did fine with this one. You relate it well to class discussion, and your summary of the article clearly recognizes the important points. Your proofreading was terrible, which is a minor but growing point; the one thing I wanted to see, especially since you did a good job of contextualizing the reading in relationship with class at the beginning, is some sort of turn back to the class at the end - that is, a simple, straightforward of explanation of how this essay should effect our understanding of the poem as a class.

  2. In my opinion, I think it be a little easier to read if you put everything from the class discussions closer together.