As the Mighty Fall
In Hrothgar’s speech to Beowulf, Hrothgar gives Beowulf a warning meant to be words of wisdom, so Beowulf will not overestimate his mortality. Hrothgar was once a mighty and fierce warrior, who himself fought many battles and defended his land, but the one foe he could never defeat was time. Age seems to be every great warrior’s downfall. As Hrothgar states “for a brief while your strength is in bloom but it fades quickly” (1762-1762). This passage means while you are young you feel invincible, but as you age you become slower and weaker and you wake up one day to find you are, in fact, mortal. Beowulf sees himself as immortal and takes unnecessary risks due to his lack of acceptance of his mortality. Hrothgar uses his speech to thank Beowulf for killing Grendel and Grendel’s mother but also to warn him that strength can be a weakness. The following analysis and quotes will contribute to the understanding that in the end, youth will fade. It can be your weakness in the long run by making you prideful; however in the end, mental strength and wisdom are stronger than physical strength.
Hrothgar tries to make Beowulf understand what he is saying by using his own life as a comparison, “just so I ruled the Ring-Danes country for fifty years,/ assaults by many tribes” (1762-1772). Hrothgar tells Beowulf of how strong and mighty he was and how he protected his land for a long time from many enemies. This quote is important because it serves to use as a comparison between Beowulf and Hrothgar. Hrothgar was once mighty and strong like Beowulf, but as time went on, he grew old. When Grendel and his mother came, Hrothgar was unable to defend his people. Beowulf is mighty and strong now, but Hrothgar warns him that this will not last forever. The king also tries to tell Beowulf to choose the eternal rewards and not to give way to pride, to “beware the trap” (1758). In this quote Hrothgar uses the metaphor “trap” to say pride is a...
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