Bravery, Comitatus and Pride
Beowulf the 7 to 10th century poem is an epic, a long narrative poem with a serious tone, spotlighting a heroic figure whom carries the responsibility of a nation. Beowulf is a tale of heroes, monsters and the bond of comitatus. Comitatus is defined as bond of companions, typically between a leader and his followers. This bond has the strength to bring two warring tribes together, and has the power to win battles. This relationship is shown in more than one way throughout the story of Beowulf. One example of this relationship is the comitatus shown by Beowulf to Lord Hrothgar and his tribe, when he arrives to help defend the tribe against the monstrous Grendel, as well as when the young warrior Wiglaf comes to Beowulf’s aid as he is battling a dragon in the final moments of his life. Even though both of these examples show an extreme loyalty to a leader, they are different in the aspect of purity. The comitatus shown by Wiglaf to Beowulf is more pure than the comitatus shown by Beowulf for Hrothgar and his people, Wiglaf was humble and selfless, his loyalty was fueled by bravery and love, while Beowulf was strong and prideful, his loyalty was fueled by the desire to prove himself as a brave and skilled warrior, not by love.
Beowulf the hero of the tale is a great and well known warrior, he was known for his bravery and strength. He is skilled in combat and cunning in his attacks. Beowulf uses his talents in combat to aid Hrothgar in defending his people against the fiendish Grendel. Upon the slaying of the murderous adversary, Beowulf proves his heroic ability and earns the respect of Lord Hrothgar; to display his gratitude Hrothgar bestows gifts upon the hero and delivers a sermon of virtue. In the famous sermon Hrothgar speaks of the value of morality and warns of the danger of pride, “Defend yourself from wickedness, dear Beowulf, /best of men, and choose the better, /eternal counsel, care not for pride,/ great champion!”...
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