Compare And Contrast Hrothgar And Beowulf

1496 Words6 Pages
It is no question that Beowulf was one of the b est, if not the best, warrior of his time. His skills of being a tremendous warrior are not to be questioned, but his position as a king could use a closer look. While the qualities of being a great warrior and a great king can be similar, there are some differing qualities to keep in mind. There is an extensive comparison to be made between Beowulf and Hrothgar, as a warrior and as a king and the qualities that each of them bring to the table. On lines 17 00-1739 of Beowulf, Hrothgar gives his famous speech to Beowulf on what it means to be a successful king. Hrothgar feels the need to give Beowulf this advice because he knows that Beowulf will one day need to know how to more than a warrior.…show more content…
Acts of generosity can be materialistic items such as gold and armor, or it can be things you cannot see. Kind and boastful words are an example of such generosity, or in other words “right for the people” (l701). Hrothgar is the perfect balance of both types of generosity. He is very wealthy in gold, for he has been ruling for a long time. He is also wealthy with his words, his experience of being king has given him the wisdom he needs to pass down to others. Boasting of one’s self or someone else is a highly respected thing to do because it establishes an identity. People love to boast about themselves, so when someone else boasts about you, it is one of the highest compliments you can receive. Establishing an identity in the Anglo-Saxon’s time is something that never goes away. For example, when Hrothgar boasts of Beowulf he says, “My friend Beowulf,/ your glory is exalted throughout the world,/ over every people” (1703-1704). Meaning that not if, but when Beowulf becomes king, he will be unstoppable because everyone has heard how amazing and incredible he is. When Beowulf is visiting the Danes, in the short amount of time he has already gained the respect of everybody there. Even Unferth, who was enraged at the sight of Beowulf and all of his men, came around to respect Beowulf. Unferth even gave Beowulf his sword in the battle of Grendel’s mother. Since armor, swords, and gold were highly respected and correlated with…show more content…
While having one or the other can make you a great warrior, combining these two qualities puts a potential king above the rest. In Hrothgar’s speech, another great piece of advice he gives to Beowulf is to “hold it all with patient care,/ and temper strength with wisdom” (1705-1706). This piece of advice is especially important because a great king must be wise, patient, and strong. If Beowulf wants to be a successful king then there are warrior qualities he needs to learn to set aside. One of the main warrior qualities he need to let go of is the act of being impulsive. Most warrior’s natural instinct would be to act impulsively without thinking about the consequences of their actions and who it might affect. Whereas, a king needs to act patiently and wisely, thinking about all of the possible solutions before making a final decision. When Beowulf is king (towards the end of the poem), he decided that he wants to fight the dragon all by himself. He may be trying to spare the life of others, but this is not a smart thing to do as king. Instead of being boastful and cocky, he needs to set his pride aside and ask his warriors for help in battling the dragon. Even though most of them bailed out on Beowulf anyways, a king needs to know his own abilities for the better of his people. If he had faced the dragon on his own, did not defeat it, and died, then his people would be without their leader and still
Open Document