Becky Workman

Date of Award

Spring 2005

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Beowulfs introspection leads him to seek glory and wealth to preserve his memory after death. Unlike the battles against Grendel and Grendel's mother, Beowulfs actions against the dragon clearly prioritize the winning of treasure over the safety of the people. Beowulf seems to believe that revenge upon the dragon is a justification for risking not only his life, but the stability of the leadership of his nation. The hoard that he wins illustrates how material objects are not necessarily longer lasting or more stable than mortals. Treasure's intimate connection with the human body in the social structure of the community demonstrates how the failure of one inevitably leads to the downfall of the other. "We begin to confront the thingness of objects when they stop working for us, when their flow within the circuits of production and distribution ... has been arrested, however momentarily" (Brown 4).