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Qualities of a Leader in Beowulf and Sir Gawain the Green Knight

Decent Essays
A leader in any tale is an exceptional figure, whether good or evil, they also display tremendous strength above all others be it physical, emotional or mental. Their qualities instill in them a reverence that all of their subjects come to realize and respect. The role of leader is usually first assigned to a different character and upon completion of his journey the main character usually becomes the leader or a figure who has the potential to lead others, the leader is usually a well-known, revered, however they are alone, both figuratively and physically. Beowulf written by an unnamed poet has multiple characters that the reader can identify as leaders, one whom is within the first five lines of the text. Shielf Sheafson, is described…show more content…
Beowulf begins with a history of the Kings of the Spear-Danes, beginning with Shield Sheafson. Shield Sheafson, arrived by sea alone, “likely that as a child all Shield brought with him only a sheaf” (pg.41 footnote2)1. Sheafson, described as the “scourge of many tribes, a wrecker of mead benches…terror of hall-troops” (l.4-6)1. As his legend grew so did his influence and kingdom, by the time he died every clan that touched an outlying coast had to pay tribute to him. He was “one good king” (l. 11)1, he had a sea burial; buried alone, set adrift on the sea. He controlled all aspects he was powerful, revered by all and alone in the end.
Beowulf the central character, by the completion of the tale also imbues the qualities of a leader. He is already revered Beowulf begins the journey as a well-known prince there are already tales of his exploits throughout the world such as his swimming match with Breca as the story grows as does Beowulf’s reputation and age. Beowulf’s seemingly omnipotent powers are questioned thrice in his lifetime, once during his match with Grendel; Beowulf tears his arm off in a bare-armed match. Also, during his match with Grendel’s mother under the water in the swamp a few miles from Heorot and fifty winters after his with Grendel when Beowulf fights the dragon. He sacrifices his life in order to protect his country from the mistake of an unknown thief. Beowulf is alone in each battle and legend, during his final battle the only
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