Comparison of Hrothgar and Beowulf as Kings.

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What makes a "well loved lord" (20), an "honored prince" (88) or a "leader beloved" (1827)? Cultures as well as individuals have differed in their definitions of a successful king for generations. The epic poem Beowulf introduces two kings: Beowulf, the protagonist of the story, the famed hero who slays monsters with his bare hands and then becomes king of the Geats, and Hrothgar, the king of the Danish court, who is grateful for Beowulf 's help in overcoming Grendel and his mother. A king received respect for wealth, fame, and warriors, during the time in which the poem Beowulf takes place. However, a king should go beyond these basic "needs" and become one with his people. This is achievable by depending on one 's people instead of…show more content…
Beowulf boasts, "With Grendel, the fearful fiend, single-handed I 'll settle the strife!...with hand-grip only I 'll grapple with Grendel" (329-330, 342). Although Beowulf "found that never before had he felt in any man other in all the earth a mightier hand-grip; his mood was humbled, his courage fled" (568-570), which means he lost his courage for a moment, he proceeds to overcome his fears and not only kill Grendel, but just as he has promised, kill him unarmed. Later on in Beowulf, the hero becomes king, but still behaves like a hero by going out himself to kill a dragon, burning the homes of his people. Wiglaf, one of his comrades says,

"Beloved Beowulff, summon your strength, remember the vow you made of old in the years of youth not to allow your glory to lessen as long as you lived. With resolute heart, and dauntless daring, defend your life with all your force." (1589-1595)

Beowulf does not keep to these words, which state that he should not let himself be overtaken by the need for glory, and therefore risk his life. Beowulf is not convinced, and is killed by the dragon. After he dies, Wiglaf speaks again,

"We could not persuade the king by our counsel, our well-loved leader, to shun assualt on the dreadful dragon guarding the gold; to let him lie where he long had lurked in his secret lair till the world shall end. But Beowulf, dauntless pressed to his doom." (1815-1820)

Although both Hrothgar and Beowulf are men of their words, Beowulf can not resist
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