When “The ninth hour of the day arrived,” some of the thanes depart and return back to Herot. Who leaves and who stays? What do these respective actions reveal to the reader about the character of the respective groups of men?
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The Shieldings abandon Beowulf from his epic battle with the dragon. Only Wiglaf stays with Beowulf,
"The ninth hour of the day arrived. The brave Shieldings abandoned the cliff-top and the king went home; but sick at heart, staring at the mere, the strangers held on.”