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chained in a cave

Grendel describes Hrothgar as a man who is trapped - largely by his own success:

And so he waits like a man chained in a cave, staring at the entrance or, sometime, gazing with sad, absent-minded eyes at Wealtheow, chained beside him. (122)

One may at this point be tempted to think of Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" from The Republic.

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