Beowulf: line1158-1250

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After the minstrel finishes his song, the feast resumes. Hrothgar's queen, Wealhtheow, tells her husband to enjoy his good fortune, and encourages him to bequeath his kingdom after his death to his nephew, Hrothulf, who is a good man and will not let them down.  

More gifts are presented to Beowulf, including a torque (necklace or collar) of gold. Beowulf will eventually pass this necklace on to King Hygelac, who will die in battle wearing it.  

Wealhtheow tells Beowulf to wear the torque for luck. She tells him that he has won fame far and wide, and she wishes him a lifetime's luck and blessings. She tells him also to look after her two sons, Hrethric and Hrothmund, who are sitting on either side of Beowulf.  

The feast over, the warriors prepare for bed. They place their armor close by them, since they must always be ready for action.  

The lavish gift-giving and frequent allusions to triumphs in battle reveal the core values of the heroic society. The bestowing of gifts is vital because it represents gratitude and mutual loyalty. The gifts are signs of social status and are passed down to the recipient's descendants.  

The extent to which life in this society revolves around martial values is apparent from the passage in which the warriors sleep with their armor close at hand: 

It was their habit

always and everywhere to be ready for action,

at home or in the camp, in whatever case

and at whatever time the need arose. (Lines 1246-1249) 

When they are called into action, their rallying round their lord defines them as a "right people," since in that solidarity and loyalty lie their best hopes of survival as a group.

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