Is Beowulf the ideal hero and king, or are there flaws in his character?
Beowulf is indeed a heroic king that ruled for fifty years. One of the dominant traits of Beowulf is the unbeatable attitude that he possessed. He manifested a high level of confidence that made him fight many wars during his reign as king. Beowulf’s heroism may be backtracked to his father’s heroic qualities. In the poem, Hrothgar comes to terms with the fact that he is aware of Beowulf from his childhood as a young boy with his father, Ecgtheow, being a mighty warrior. The illustration in the poem is where Hrothgar states, “I used to know him when he was a young boy. His father before him was called Ecgtheow.” One time, Hrothgar’s men brought wonderful tales about Ecgtheow from a sailing trip (Dolinsky, 2012).
According to the Anglo-Saxons, a person’s family is responsible for making an individual be a hero. Dignity was a necessary quality in acquiring a warrior status and on w of the initial stages of becoming a hero. Further, a family lineage of warriors increased the personal urge to become a warrior in order to preserve and maintain the high reputation of the family. Hrothgar’s acquaintance of Beowulf’s parents strengthens his reputation giving him the opportunity to enter Daneland without which it would be impossible to gain such entrance (Dolinsky, 2012).
Gifts such as gold feasts, weapons, and drink were used to reward loyal subjects. In the poem, because of Beowulf’s success in killing Grendel, he is showered with gifts. The reception of such gifts marks one’s path to heroism. In conclusion, Beowulf’s loyalty and dedication to his people during his reign qualify him to be a hero of society (Dolinsky, 2012).
Dolinsky, A. (2012). “I Am Beowulf!”: The Figure Of The Hero In Beowulf. Ball State University.