Blood Feud In Beowulf Essay

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The motif of blood feud is an important and distinctive literary component of Beowulf. In consort with the interlacing, complex pattern of Beowulf, a blood feud is represented in each of the time periods - past, present, and future, demonstrating how important the theme was to the epic. The inclusion of blood feuds acts as a reflection of the culture of sixth-century Scandinavia, emphasizing the warrior-based and unforgiving societies of that time. The components of blood feuds that are strongly stressed are its potential to be endless and it’s inflexibility. The most prominent blood feud is located in the “present” and involved Beowulf and Grendel but began long before them. It began when Hrothgar paid the wergild (man-price) to the Wulfings to stop their blood feud with Ecgtheow (Beowulf’s father): “There was a feud one time, begun by your father/[…] Finally I healed the feud by paying:/ I shipped a treasure-trove to the Wulfings”. As such,…show more content…
This can be seen in the “future” blood feud between the Heatho-Bards and the Shieldings. Although Freawaru is married to Ingeld to heal for peace, as it is “hoped this woman will heal old wounds/ And grievous feuds”, the divide created by a blood feud and the resentment that is harbored is so great that the marriage does little as can be seen in the lines: “But generally the spear/ Is prompt to retaliate when a prince is killed,/ No matter how admirable the bride may be/[...]a passionate hate/ Will build up in Ingeld and love for his bride/ Will falter in him as the feud rankles”. As the only ways to successfully stop a blood feud are through a significant amount of deaths or paying a significant amount of money, it signifies the strictness of dealing with blood feud in these societies’ cultures. Otherwise, a marriage (which is no light matter) would typically suffice in joining two former enemies into an
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