Gold and its Significance in Beowulf

Gold and its Significance in Beowulf

By Patricie Silber

Annuale Medievale, Vol. 18 (1977)

Introduction: The gold and treasure in Beowulf are so much a part of the texture of the poem that the reader tends to dismiss them as another commonplace of the heroic age, like mead-benches and armor, included by the poet to set his scene. ¬†The centrality of the hoard in the second part, however, demands that all of the references to gold in the poem be examined carefully to determine the metal’s symbolic value, and to uncover the relationships between the dragon’s hoarded treasure and that distributed so freely by Hrothgar, since it must be assumed that a poet of such subtlety and allusiveness would use the one as a referant to the other.

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