Qualities Of A Good King In Beowulf

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What are the qualities that make a good warrior and king? This is one of the main focuses of the epic Beowulf and much of other Anglo-Saxon literature. There are many examples of what makes a good and bad warrior and what makes a good and bad king and while these two roles may seem similar, they are actually vastly different. The main character of the epic Beowulf is Beowulf. Beowulf starts from humble beginnings, being mistreated and neglected for the first part of his life until he is eventually able to prove himself and become a warrior. Soon Beowulf is summoned by Hrothgar to help the Geats as a warrior and fend off the evil Grendel and eventually his mom and a dragon. Soon after Hrothgar takes a liking to Beowulf and after Hrothgar dies, …show more content…
First and foremost a warrior must protect his king. "As God is my witness, I would rather my body were robed in the same burning blaze as my gold-giver 's body than go back home bearing arms. That is unthinkable, unless we have first slain the foe and defended the life of the prince of the Weather-Geats” (Beowulf 2650-2655). When Wiglaf says this in the epic, it shows how much the thanes were willing to lay on the line for their kings/princes and how they would even pay the ultimate price to ensure their safety. While action is clearly the most important aspect of being a warrior, there are others such as having a way with words. Warriors must also be able to be boastful about their past glories in order to be looked at with high regard as well as assuring the member of their clan that they are in good hands. Bad warriors would be cowardly and not take any challenge as well as brag about things the things that they say they will do because they have not actually done anything worthy of bragging about. The other, equally important part of Anglo-Saxon culture is being a king and the good and bad qualities of one. A good king is wise and also has a way with words. A good king is also someone who lets other people fight for him but greatly rewards the ones who do. For the qualities of a bad king, Heremod is a great example. “The waves of his grief had beaten him …show more content…
First, one of the characteristics of a great king is being wise and experienced in leadership. While Beowulf might have had experience as being a warrior, he never had any experience as being a king or even being an advisor to a king. “Yet the prince of the rings was too proud to line up with a large army against the sky-plague” (Beowulf 2345-2346). This quote from the epic embodies Beowulf’s lack of experience. Any good king would have known that it would have been a good idea to bring many men to fight a dragon but due in part to his lack of experience, Beowulf only brought a few men to fight the dragon. The other reason Beowulf was not a great king and he did not do well is because he was still too hungry for glory. Another part of being a good king is letting the warriors do the fighting and battling and paying them later. Beowulf never stopped seeing himself as a warrior even when he started being king and his courage never ceased, this ultimately led to his demise. “He had scant regard for the dragon as a threat, no dread at all of its courage or strength, for he had kept going often in the past, through perils and ordeals of every sort, after he had purged Hrothgar 's hall, triumphed in Heorot and beaten Grendel” (Beowulf 2347-2353). This quote shows how Beowulf’s courage didn 't stop and he would not let his warriors have the glory. In this

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