Beowulf: Comparing Beowulf and Wiglaf

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In the literary work of Beowulf, it is imperative to analyze the relationships between characters and how those relationships function to create new meaning or a better understanding of the literature as a whole. In Beowulf, it can be said that the characters of Beowulf and Wiglaf share parallels that serve to show Wiglaf as becoming the next king, and not only the successor of the throne, but a sign of hope for the doomed society of the Geats. These similarities can be recognized especially well through the Anglo Saxon beliefs of what makes an exceptional warrior, as well as certain language chosen when describing the two characters. Furthermore, the two characters mirror each other in motifs of the story such as the father and son aspect, the coming of age to become king motif, and the importance of kinsmen in the society. First, both the characters prove that they are, indeed, true Anglo Saxon warriors, both upholding and maintaining the values, qualities, and characteristics required of a thane by their society. They display loyalty in their gratitude to their gold giver, bravery in their reactions to dire situations, strength and skill with weaponry in their battles, and generosity. The characters' loyalty is of no question in this text. Beowulf, before he wrestles with Grendel's mother, makes sure that in the instance of his death all of his bounty will be bequeathed to his lord to show his appreciation of the lord's generosity. He orders Hrothgar to "send Hygelac the treasures I received" and "let the Lord of the Geats gaze on that gold,…and see that I found a ring-giver of rare maginificence and enjoyed the good of his generosity" (P. 66). Furthermore, after Beowulf returns to his lord, he bequeaths the treasure to him and states, "It is still upon your grace that all favor depends. I have few kinsmen who are close, my king, except for your kind self" (P. 79). Wiglaf shows this same type of loyalty to Beowulf in later sections of the story...
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