There are so many similarities between the hero of the poem Beowulf and The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki, an Iceland saga representing 1000 years of oral traditions prior to the 1300’s when it was written, that these similarities cannot be attributed solely to coincidence.
The Cambridge History of English and American Literature states that the hero of the poem, Beowulf himself, may be the same person as Bodvar Biarki, the chief of Hrolfr Kraki’s knights (v1, ch3, s3, n13). George Clark in “The Hero and the Theme” mentions: “The form of Beowulf taken as a whole suggests both the ‘Bear’s Son’ folktale type (especially as we find it in Scandinavia) and the ‘combat myth’. . . .” (286). In The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki, Bodvar is the grandson of a king (Hring); in Beowulf the hero is the grandson of a king (Hrethel). Bodvar’s father has been expelled from his country, Gautland; Beowulf’s father Ecgtheow has been expelled from Geatland. Bodvar’s father is dead; Beowulf’s father is dead (Hrothgar says,”his father, now dead, was named Ecgtheow”) (373). Bodvar as a boy was so strong that he was not permitted to take part in the king’s games past the age of twelve because he injured too many of his opponents; Beowulf as a young man was so strong that “he was the strongest of all living men” (196). Bodvar was huge; Beowulf was “noble and huge” (198). Bodvar was more noble than the people around him; Beowulf refused to accept the kingship from Queen Hygd upon Hygelac’s death, risked his life various times for the benefit of others, put his own welfare last instead of first, and distributed his wealth generously when it was warranted. “Though Beowulf is careful to collect his winnings, ...
... middle of paper ...
...en and the gentlest, the kindest to his people” (3181).
The Iceland saga, The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki, written in the 1300’s, represents about 1000 years of oral traditions. The remarkable similarities between this saga’s main character and Beowulf’s main character are just too astounding to dismiss as mere coincidences.
Chickering, Howell D.. Beowulf A dual-Language Edition. New York: Anchor Books, 1977.
Clark, Gorge. “The Hero and the Theme.” In A Beowulf Handbook, edited by Robert Bjork and John D. Niles. Lincoln, Nebraska: Uiversity of Nebraska Press, 1997.
The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki, translated by Jesse L. Byock. New York: Penguin Books, 1998.
Ward & Trent, et al. The Cambridge History of English and American Literature. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1907–21; New York: Bartleby.com, 2000
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Fierceness in Beowulf and in The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki Is fierceness mentioned only in Beowulf or is it an element common also to this famous Icelandic saga. Is fierceness described the same way as in Beowulf. The Anglo-Saxons prior to 1000AD were as a race fierce. They possessed great courage. Beowulf reflects their fierceness and courage in a variety of ways. Beowulf complains to Unferth in the Danish court: “Grendel would never have done such horrors … if you were so fierce as you suppose.” The hero, who had earlier killed nine sea monsters, opted to face Grendel in mortal combat WITHOUT sword or shield or the assistance of others: “but I shall seize my enemy in my hand g... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
1790 words (5.1 pages)
- Comparing Events and Characters of Beowulf and The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki There are so many similarities between the events and characters in the poem Beowulf and The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki, an Iceland saga representing 1000 years of oral traditions prior to the 1300’s when it was written. These similarities are so numerous that they cannot be attributed solely to coincidence. The Cambridge History of English and American Literature states that the hero of the poem Beowulf may be the same person as Bodvar Biarki, the chief of Hrolfr Kraki’s knights (v1, ch3, s3, n13).... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
2044 words (5.8 pages)
- Comparing Runes and Magic in Beowulf and The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki There are runes and magic in the narratives of the poem Beowulf and The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki, an Iceland saga representing 1000 years of oral traditions prior to the 1300’s when it was written. Beowulf is an Anglo-Saxon narrative poem whose oral traditions date back to the sixth century (Ward v1,ch3,s3,n11). Beowulf opens with a short account of the victorious Danish king Scyld Scefing, whose pagan ship-burial is described.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
3409 words (9.7 pages)
- Mead-hall in Beowulf and The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki Is the mead-hall mentioned only in Beowulf or is it an element common also to this famous Icelandic saga. Is the mead-hall described the same way as in Beowulf. Remaining true to the Anglo-Saxon culture’s affinity for mead (ale/beer/wine), the characters of Beowulf partake frequently of the strong beverage. And the mead hall is their home away from home, with more entertainments than just fermented beverages: “gold and treasure at huge feasts … the words of the poet, the sounds of the harp.” Needless to say, with “the world’s greatest mead-hall … Hrothgar’s people lived in joy.” “after a mead party the Danes … knew no sor... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
2210 words (6.3 pages)
- Christian Influence on Beowulf and The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki In Beowulf the Christian influence is revealed through approximately 70 passages in which the form of expression or the thought suggests Christian usage or doctrine (Blackburn 3); The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki is in its own way infused with Christian values even though it preserves remnants of the cult of Odin. The Christian element seems to be too deeply interwoven in the text of Beowulf for us to suppose that it is due to additions made by scribes at a time when the poem had come to be written down.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
2795 words (8 pages)
- Sources for Beowulf Many of the characters and episodes and material artifacts mentioned poetically in Beowulf are likewise presented to us from archaeological sources, from literary sources, and from English and Scandinavian records. “I suggested in an earlier paper that the Beowulf poet’s incentive for composing an epic about sixth-century Scyldings may have had something to do with the fact that, by the 890’s at least, Heremod, Scyld, Healfdene, and the rest, were taken to be the common ancestors both of the Anglo-Saxon royal family and of the ninth-century Danish immigrants, the Scaldingi” (Frank 60).... [tags: Epic Beowulf essays]
2497 words (7.1 pages)
- Women in Beowulf , Widsith and Icelandic Sagas Are women in these poems active equals of the men. Or are they passive victims of the men. The roles of the women in Beowulf, Widsith, The Saga of The Volsungs, and the Saga of King Hrolf Kraki are not always stereotyped ones of passive homemaker and childbearer and peaceweaver, but sometimes ones giving freedom of choice, range of activity, and opportunity for personal growth and development. Let us first of all consider the roles of women in the classic epic poem Beowulf.... [tags: comparison compare contrast]
4016 words (11.5 pages)
- Beowulf and Icelandic Sagas There are many similarities between the hero of the poem Beowulf and the heroes of the two Icelandic sagas, The Saga of The Volsungs and The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki. The former saga is an Icelandic saga representing oral traditions dating back to the fourth and fifth centuries, when Attila the Hun was fighting on the northern fringes of the Roman Empire; the latter is an Icelandic saga representing 1000 years of oral traditions prior to the 1300’s when it was written.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
1925 words (5.5 pages)
- Leadership can be defined as the ability of a superior to influence the behavior of a minor or group and persuade them to follow a particular course of action. A leader sets a course of action and ensures that everyone follows the action. Leading can apply to leading oneself, other individuals, groups, organizations and societies. The nature of how leading is done depends on the framework of the situation, one's point of view, and on the nature and needs of those involved. While leadership is learned, the skills and knowledge processed by the leader are influenced by their traits, such as beliefs, values, ethics, and most importantly character.... [tags: Beowulf, Antigone Essays]
1875 words (5.4 pages)
- Beowulf Beowulf was written during the Anglo-Saxon time period. Beowulf is a story about a young warrior and his quest through life. Some people consider Beowulf a tragic hero, and some people just consider him a hero period. Whether Beowulf is a tragic hero or not, he fights many great battles. The reason Beowulf fights stays basically the same but it changes a little. In the beginning of the book, Beowulf goes to help the Danes out by killing Grendel. Grendel is a ferocious monster that has been killing the Danes in the mead hall (115).... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]
828 words (2.4 pages)