Essay On Loyalty In Beowulf

1050 Words 5 Pages
In the epic poem Beowulf, the poet demonstrates the various loyalties needed to maintain trust within the Geats. The poet, specifically in lines 2712-32, shows many virtues that outline the reasons why Beowulf makes a great honorable, king. With Beowulf’s knowledge, he is able to demonstrate many values that help shape Wiglaf’s character. The themes of honor and loyalty often arise to show how Beowulf stays truthful to his thanes, as well as himself, during difficult times. Throughout the many battles seen in the poem, Beowulf exemplifies unfailing loyalty to his tribe. During the battle with the dragon, Wiglaf calls for the other ten thanes to help Beowulf fight. Although Beowulf has protected them throughout the poem, the thanes return …show more content…
Beowulf’s courage at this moment shows that although he has “mortal wounds”, he is able to exemplify characteristics of being a loyal king. By leaving their king, the thanes do not realize that without a king, no one will protect them and their land. This will lead to Geatland becoming a bigger target. Instead, they should have stayed to help fight the dragon, ensuring their king would live to secure their safety. Regardless of the thanes’ disloyalty to their king, Beowulf still feels the responsibility of a king to protect them. Beowulf shows great amounts of bravery when it comes to his many fights. This bravery shows that in order to be loyal, Beowulf had to put his tribes’ safety first. This “inborn bravery” (2696) shows the characteristics needed to be a good king. Without this bravery, his loyalty would not be noticed as much because he would just be another stereotyped king. Near the …show more content…
In lines 2718-19, the description that “the earthwork / was braced with arches” represents Wiglaf holding Beowulf up and being his “columns” (2719) that support him. This imagery proves that without Wiglaf, Beowulf wouldn’t have gotten as far as he has. Their joint loyalty has led them to have killed the dragon which would not have been possible without Wiglaf. As Beowulf was contemplating his death, he “steadied his gaze” (2717), and he was able to realize that Wiglaf had acquired all the wisdom needed to rule a kingdom. Wiglaf’s loyalty is also shown when the poet writes “Thane unequaled for goodness” (2720) since Wiglaf is the only thane who stayed to protect his king. Therefore, he is superior to all other retainers. When the dragon is dead, Wiglaf feels so indebted to his king that “with his own hands washed his lord’s wounds” (2721). This shows that when the king needs him most, Wiglaf is there to comfort and help him get through his death. Wiglaf will do anything for the king and he portrays this by risking his life to help fight the dragon. Wiglaf’s consistent loyalty shows that he would never disappoint the king who has protected him for the past 50 years. Beowulf has never asked for anything in return, therefore, Wiglaf has an obligation to the king to reciprocate. When Wiglaf helps Beowulf fight the dragon, he is able to harm the dragon enough to

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