Comparing the Events and Characters of Beowulf and The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki

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Comparing Events and Characters of Beowulf and The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki

There are so many similarities between the events and characters in the poem Beowulf and The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki, an Iceland saga representing 1000 years of oral traditions prior to the 1300’s when it was written. These similarities are so numerous that they cannot be attributed solely to coincidence.

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature states that the hero of the poem Beowulf may be the same person as Bodvar Biarki, the chief of Hrolfr Kraki’s knights (v1, ch3, s3, n13). George Clark in “The Hero and the Theme” mentions: “The form of Beowulf taken as a whole suggests both the ‘Bear’s Son’ folktale type
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No one can withstand him, and the hall has to remain empty. In The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki Bodvar Biarki’s monster visits only at night; Beowulf’s monster does the same.

When the Grendel problem has continued for twelve years, Beowulf, a nephew of Hygelac, king of the Geats, and a man of enormous strength, decides to go to Hrothgar’s assistance. In The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki, Bodvar is represented as coming to Leire, the Danish royal residence, from Götaland, where his brother was king. Bodvar is the grandson of a king (Hring); in Beowulf the hero is the grandson of a king (Hrethel). Bodvar’s father has been expelled from his country, Gautland; Beowulf’s father Ecgtheow has been expelled from Geatland. Bodvar’s father is dead; Beowulf’s father is dead (Hrothgar says,”his father, now dead, was named Ecgtheow”) (373). Bodvar as a boy was so strong that he was not permitted to take part in the king’s games past the age of twelve because he injured too many of his opponents; Beowulf as a young man was so strong that “he was the strongest of all living men” (196). Bodvar was huge; Beowulf was “noble and huge” (198). Bodvar was more noble than the people around him; Beowulf risked his life various times for the benefit of others, put his own welfare last instead of first, and distributed his wealth generously. “Though Beowulf is careful to collect his winnings,

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