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Middle Age Lit
October 12 2016
Hrothgar VS Beowulf Essay
In the epic Beowulf, Hrothgar and Beowulf both show characteristics that they are good kings. Some leadership qualities that they had in common were that they led by example, they were both loved by their people and kind hearted, good men. “The greatest trait, that both men portrayed in their reign as King, was their love for their people. When you love someone, you are more likely to be accountable and honest with the person you love and trust.”
Hrothgar was a king who gave generously. God provided his wealth, he was determined to share that with others. He gave gold gifts and peace from his gift throne. (Rebsamen 4) In addition to being a generous king Hrothgar was also a promise keeper. (Rebsamen 4) The reason a king should be a promise keeper is because if he does not keep his promises, then the people would not trust him. Other kingdoms would not support him or trade with him because they would know he was not a man of his word. Furthermore, King Hrothgar was a beloved treasure king (Rebsamen 22). He was also loved by his hall-thanes (Rebsamen 4). There is only so much a person will do for another human being, if they do not love or respect that person. Love is a powerful emotion and motivator.
Beowulf decided to fight the dragon once again. He has earned himself a name and crafted a legend over his life time (Rebsamen 85). Also, Beowulf had fought many battles he had ripped the arm off a demon, with his bare hands (Rebsamen 24), fought sea serpents in the ocean during a raging storm, no hot-searing flames brought fear to him (Rebsamen 76). He killed Grendel’s mother with a blade forged by giants (Rebsamen 54). Clearly this is a man fit to be king. Next, he is a fearless (Rebsamen 76) as he fought a dragon even if it could take his life. He would fight the dragon, because no one else would. So, he fought the dragon, however he was mortally wounded (Rebsamen 87-89). Beowulf died a proud king, warrior, a savior for Hrothgar and his people (Rebsamen 24-26) and a legend to the world.
In conclusion, I think Beowulf is a better king than Hrothgar because of the actions he did in his life. He saved an entire kingdom with only using his bare hands! He jumped into a lake full of serpents to kill Grendel’s mother! And killed a dragon to save his kingdom even if it cost his life. Beowulf to me is like Jesus he was a just a man who went around and helped people, both made a name for themselves. Beowulf died for his people to save them, Jesus died for His people too. Except Jesus came back from the dead but that’s beside the point, the point is that Beowulf sacrificed himself for his own kingdom Hrothgar called for Beowulf’s help and did nothing as he watched is own people get slaughtered right in front of him! But Beowulf could not just watch his people be slaughtered by the dragon. So he fought it at the cost of his life. I think self-sacrifice is a good sign in a king because it shows that he is willing to give everything for him or her or a entire kingdom. Also this verse shows self-sacrifice. Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 1585). See even God says that there is no love greater than to lay down your life for a friend.
John. "John 15:13." John. Bible. n.d. 1585.
Rebsamen, Fredrick. "Beowulf." Rebsamen, Fredrick. Beowulf. New york: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991. 4.
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