Essay on The Perfect Ruler in the Epic Poem, Beowulf

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The classic poem Beowulf presents the concept of the perfect king/leader/ruler. This is presented in two modes: the ideal Germanic king and the ideal Christian king.

Literary scholar Levin L. Schucking in “Ideal of Kingship” states: “I have already tried to prove that the author of Beowulf designed it as a kind of Furstenspiegel (“mirror of a prince”) – perhaps for the young son of a prince, a thought with which Heusler later agreed” (36). So the author of Beowulf had in mind a human ideal of the perfect leader/ruler which he was trying to convey to the young man who was in search of the proper way, the ideal way that a ruler, a king, should govern his kingdom. This analysis seems so reasonable since the scop lived in the
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When Beowulf was dying after the fire-dragon’s attack, he did an examination of conscience and had a good feeling of satisfaction for having never wronged his relatives, or broken an oath, or done anything out of malice. He was proud also that no enemy dared attack his kingdom during his reign:

Then Beowulf spoke, despite the gash,

the gaping wound -he knew for certain

he had finished his days, his joy in the world,

that his time was over, death very near:

“Now I would want to give to my son

these war-garments, had it been granted

that I have a guardian born from my body

for this inheritance. I ruled this people

for fifty winters, and there was no ruler

of surrounding nations, not any, who dared

meet me with armies, seek out a battle,

make any onslaught, terror, oppression,

upon Geatish men. At home I awaited

what the years brought me, held my own well,

sought no intrigue; not often I swore

deceitful oaths! Sick with my death-wound

I can take joy in all these things; (2724ff.)

Beowulf manifests a deep pride in the way he performed his duties to
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