The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Fry, Donald K. "Finnsburh: A New Interpretation." 9 (1974): 1-14.
The poet recites Finnsburh to remind his audience of famous Danish victories in the face of Beowulf's recent victory over Grendel. Finnsburh links Wealtheow, Hildeburgh, and Freawaru, showing that they live where violence destroys life. Careful examination of the song also clarifies the meaning of eotena: they are giants, serving in Finn's army. A new reading of Hengest is in order since other works indicate that Anglo-Saxons could travel by sea in the winter. Hengest stays with Finn voluntarily, waiting for an opportunity to avenge Hnæf. This Danish feat parallels Beowulf's victory over Grendel and suggests a new interpretation of Hrothgar. Like Hengest, he lives with Grendel awaiting the vengeful moment.