Study Guide

Wealhtheow in Beowulf

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Wealhtheow, Queen of the Spear-Danes and wife of King Hrothgar, appears briefly in Beowulf as the mistress of Heorot Hall. One of Wealhtheow's most important duties is the ceremonial carrying of a goblet of mead around to the warriors during the feast, helping to establish a tone of brotherly affection between the Geats and Danes.

Wealhtheow also shows anxiety about the future of the Danish kingdom after the death of her husband, especially since Hrothgar adopts Beowulf as his foster son. Her only long speech in the poem is a subtle plea to Beowulf to defend the rights of her young sons, Hrethric and Hrothmund, to the throne. She seems to worry that a great warrior like Beowulf might decide to take the throne for himself.

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