Essay Comparing Beowulf and The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki
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Beowulf and The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki
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).…show more content… Bodvar avenges wrongs done to his family by killing the one who did the injustices; Beowulf avenges wrongs done to his family: “he avenged Heardred’s death,” “I repaid Hygelac … with my bright sword,” “I was the killer of Daghrefin.”
When King Hring took sick and died, Bodvar became ruler of the kingdom; when Heardred was killed in battle, Beowulf became king. Bodvar thought of others first; he found support for his mother before leaving his people; Beowulf likewise placed the concerns of others before his own, putting his life in jeopardy in order to satisfy a family debt to King Hrothgar for paying wergild for the hero’s father’s indiscretion as a young man.
Bodvar leaves Gautland to travel to the kingdom of the Danes; Beowulf leaves Geatland to travel to the kingdom of the Danes. Bodvar goes to King Hrolf, widely known for his generosity, magnificence and courage; Beowulf goes to King Hrothgar, widely known for the same virtues. In Denmark Bodvar meets a farmer who thinks that the hero is imposing; in Denmark Beowulf meets a coast-guard who considers him imposing. The farmer’s wife says to Bodvar, “Your hand seems to be strong. . . .” (48); Beowulf’s handgrip was so strong that he ripped off Grendel’s arm and shoulder; he had “the strength of thirty in his mighty hand-grip