top-rated free essay

Beowulf

By nomoreliestold May 08, 2013 862 Words
ng Hrothgar and King Beowulf
Summary: The ideal king in the Anglo-Saxon culture first gains power and wealth through successful wars, and then gains loyalty through friendships and generous gift giving. King Sheafson described in the first part of Beowulf exhibited courage, greatness, power and wealth - all attributes important to the popularity of kings.The ideal king in the Anglo-Saxon culture first gains power and wealth through successful wars, and then gains loyalty through friendships and generous gift giving. King Sheafson described in the first part of Beowulf exhibited courage, greatness, power and wealth - all attributes important to the popularity of kings. He was a, "a wrecker of mead-benches." (1.5). Then, realized that loyalty is best attained through fairness and friendship (1.24-25). King Sheafson first proves himself through success at war and after gains popularity & loyalty through friendship and gifts. King Hrothgar was not always a gentle lord. He may seem measly because he does not fight the monster. Look closely when Hrothgar says, "I was then in the first flush of kinship, establishing my sway over the rich strongholds of this heroic land (3.465-66)." King Hrothgar first by conquered in war, resulting in the acquirement of money and goods. Then, as he aged, he became a "treasure giver" (4.607), giving "gifts to others" (6.950). He also developed loyalty through friendships, especially felt at the teary & sentimental goodbye when Beowulf left. King Hrothgar follows the ideal set forth in King Sheafson in that he was successful at war and then gained loyalty through friendships & gifts.Beowulf also exhibits the ideal king because he first is powerful and then (eventually) honorably attains kingship. We witness in detail the phases of kingship with Beowulf. During the first phase of the poem, he is proving himself. He describes stories where he wards off sea monsters and he selflessly fights the two monsters for King Hrothgar. Beowulf evolves as an ideal king by giving gifts to his lord when returning home, always being "ready to fight - it is his way to take care of the wrongs" (7.1384:85), keeping his will, power & respect under control (8.2177), and following the correct order of kingship (instead of overstepping his cousin's right). In the end, Beowulf rules for fifty years and then selflessly decides to fight the dragon alone. Beowulf, throughout the story, follows the phase of kingship: first successful at war, and then as a generous lord. Beowulf and his warriors get ready to leave the Danes. Beowulf formally thanks Hrothgar for being so generous and hospitable to the Geats and offers to perform any last favors Hrothgar might need. Beowulf also pledges his own and King Hygelac's continuing loyalty to King Hrothgar. Hrothgar praises Beowulf once again, and suggests that, if his own sons are killed and his line dies out, Beowulf could come and defend the Danes again and become their ruler. Hrothgar also confirms the "shared peace and a pact of friendship" that exist between the Geats and Danes. Hrothgar gives Beowulf a set of twelve treasures and kisses him goodbye, breaking down into tears because he suspects he won't live to see Beowulf again. (If you're as mighty a king and warrior as Hrothgar, it's okay to cry, because everyone is too afraid to laugh at you.) The Geats FINALLY leave Denmark and go back to the coast where their boat is waiting. The Danish lookout salutes them from the top of a cliff. The Geats load up their boat with all the treasures and riches they've been given and set off for home. The boat arrives safely at the shores of Geatland (modern-day Sweden). The Geatish lookout helps them anchor their boat and arranges for all their treasures to be carried ashore. The Geats make their way to King Hygelac's hall, where they are received by the gracious Queen Hygd. The poet contrasts Queen Hygd with an evil queen, Queen Modthryth. Queen Modthryth was very beautiful but disliked attention, and so if anyone except her lord looked directly at her, she would have him imprisoned, tortured, and killed. After Offa, 18 however, she became mellower and was famous for her good works. Beowulf and his men are received by King Hygelac, who is in his hall dispensing treasures to his lords and followers. Hygelac greets them and they sit down to drink and talk. King Hygelac asks about everything that happened while Beowulf was in Hrothgar's land. Beowulf retells the story so far from the beginning, describing the way he defeated Grendel and Grendel's mother. He also describes Hrothgar's generosity and the kindness of his daughter Freawaru. Beowulf explains that Freawaru is engaged to Ingeld, the leader of the Heathobards. Hrothgar hopes that this marriage will end an old blood-feud between the Heathobards and the Danes, but Beowulf is worried that it will just provoke the Heathobards to start the feud all over again. Whoops! Beowulf realizes he's digressing and goes back to his story about Grendel. He describes Grendel's first attack and the way that the demon ate one of the Geatish warriors.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Beowulf

    ...Epic Hero of the Anglo-Saxon Era: Beowulf There have been many heroes in the past, like Superman, Batman, even Spiderman; they all exemplify heroic qualities, all different but all powerful in helping out others. Heroes are seen as a respectable character that people put hope into when all might be lost, or even look up to when they need their ...

    Read More
  • Beowulf

    ...Beowulf The poem begins with a feast that was held at the Herot Hall. Hrotghar was a good king and he wanted to celebrate with his people his reign by building a new hall. But such celebration did not only bring Hrotghar people to the feast, but also the attention of a horrible monster known as Grendel. It is a beast that lives in the darkness...

    Read More
  • Beowulf

    ...Anul I RE Beowulf Beowulf is the oldest epic poem in the English language. It was written in Old English, the language of the Saxons. In the 19th century the poem began to be called by the name of its Scandinavian hero. Historical elements run through the poem, but both the hero and the story are fiction. The poem was composed betw...

    Read More
  • Beowulf

    ...which was Shield Sheafson’s son. Hrothgar was not the only son, but was favored because of his fortunes in war. Many friends and kinsmen flocked to follow him. Beowulf a warrior with strength of more than thirty men in one hand aspired to be a great leader like King Hrothgar and Shield Sheafson. Hrothgar was a great king because he provided ...

    Read More
  • Beowulf

    ...Beowulf Beowulf is a story that takes place in medieval Europe, the main part of the story is about a knight, Beowulf, that has to fight evil creatures such as a dragon. No one is exactly sure who wrote Beowulf, Paleographers believe from characteristics of the scribal hands that wrote the soul surviving text, that the manuscript was copie...

    Read More
  • Beowulf Religion

    ... Beowulf is a masterpiece that has pillaged and powered through centuries of oral retelling and translating just as the character it vividly illustrates does throughout the epic. Despite being so impressive and entertaining on the surface, the Old English classic embodies something a lot greater, and that is the moral strugg...

    Read More
  • Beowulf and Its Characteristics of an

    ...Beowulf: Characteristics of Epic Poem Essay Epic poems have many characteristics. Beowulf, which was an epic poem, followed these characteristics. Beowulf had a basic theme of good versus evil, was written in a formal type of language, and it reflected the values of society. Beowulf had a central theme of good versus evil. Hrothgar, leader a...

    Read More
  • Beowulf: Themes

    ...Beowulf: Themes The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is the most important work of Old English literature, and is well deserved of the distinction. The epic tells the story of a hero, a Scandinavian prince named Beowulf, who rids the Danes of the monster Grendel, a descendent of Cain, and of his exploits fighting Grendel's mother and a Dragon. Thro...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.