Causality and Beowulf Foreshadowing
The Insufficient Use of foreshadowing in Beowulf Foreshadowing can be useful in certain situations, the presentation in Beowulf was insufficient in ways of stifling creativity, cutting suspense, and diverting attention away from current events. Through out this paper, it will be proved that the use of foreshadowing was not useful and therefore insufficient. The use of foreshadowing can have a way of making a piece of writing less creative and exciting. The beginning of this poem starts off with a funeral that seems to foreshadow the death of Beowulf and gives the reader a huge clue as to what is going to happen.
Another example is this quote, “But fate, that night, intended/ Grendel to gnaw the broken bones/ Of his last human/ Supper” (33: 309). This line causes the reader to expect what is about to happen and changes a possibly creative line into something that gives the rest of the scene away, therefore losing the interest of the reader. “And Beowulf uttered his final boast: I’ve/ never known fear, as a youth I fought/ in endless battles. I am old, now,/ But I will fight again/ Seek fame still” (44: 626). This line from the piece is obvious in its intent, it means that Beowulf is heading into his last battle and will die before the battle is over.
It does not take much inferring to decide what is going to happen at the end of the poem. The reader becomes disinterested in what the play is saying at that moment and could possibly miss something important. The would be suspense that could make the piece quite interesting and keep the reader wanting more is lost because of the use of foreshadowing in Beowulf. The use of foreshadowing kills the climaxes of the poem by ruining the most suspenseful parts and giving away what will happen at the end before it really starts.
As stated in the quote above “But fate, that/ Night, intended/ Grendel to gnaw the bones of his last human supper” (33: 309). This would be a very suspenseful part in the play if this line were not included because the fate of Grendel and Beowulf would not be known, causing the reader to want to continue reading to find out what is going to happen. The quote, “The monster came quickly toward him/ Pouring out fire and smoke hurrying/ To its fate” (46: 680). This line causes the suspense to be lost to the reader once again, the ending is given away.
If this quote were not used, at least the reader would not know the fate of the dragon until the end of the story. The reader would feel more suspense not knowing if the dragon is going to live after injuring Beowulf, die when he fatally injures Beowulf, or possibly die of another force after Beowulf dies. As stated, the reader will already know that the dragon is going to die because of the example of foreshadowing in the quote above. The loss of attention caused by foreshadowing in this piece is also a problem. Foreshadowing is a diversion to the reader.
This diversion may cause the reader to miss something important in the work that might not have been missed if the reader had been focused on what they were currently reading instead of what they are going to read. For example, the quote “And Beowulf uttered his final boast: / I’ve never known fear, as a youth I fought/ In endless battles. I am old, now, / But I will fight again, seek fame still” (44: 626). This quote takes the reader away from what is happening to Beowulf at present and begins contemplating what is going to happen at the end of the story.
The reader may tune out Beowulf’s exciting fight, an important scene and also a turning point in the story. In conclusion, the Beowulf is a poem of lessons, honor and ancient lore. The use of foreshadowing by the author was probably meant to add to the meaning of the poem. It could have been a more exciting, and an attention grabbing story if the foreshadowing was used less or in less obvious ways that would make the reader contemplate and wonder what was going to happen instead of knowing what was going to happen.