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...