Power of Loyalty In epics, the faithfulness and loyalty of characters are put to the test in relationships and conflicts. Through these situations, some thanes fail to live up to the ideal of loyalty. However, Beowulf maintains loyal to his alliances through all struggles which illustrates his extraordinary faithfulness. In the epic Beowulf, Beowulf emphasizes the ideal of loyalty throughout his relationship with his lord Higlac and his host Hrothgar. First, Beowulf stays loyal and faithful to his lord Higlac.
For instance, when news came about that Hrothgar’s kingdom was struggling with Grendel, Higlac orders, “And quickly commanded a boat fitted out…So Beowulf/ Chose the mightiest men he could find” (113-120). Beowulf followed his lord’s orders without questioning the reason to help a far away kingdom. His loyalty to serve as a brave and honorable warrior to his lord illustrates his loyalty. In addition, during the fight with Grendel, Beowulf is characterized, “Bound fast, Higlac’s brave follower tearing at/ His hands” (386-387).
Beowulf is struggling to win the fight with Grendel and does not surrender. With the direct characterization of Beowulf as a follower to his lord, it emphasizes how he risks his life as a warrior to his lord with his faithfulness. All in all, Beowulf remained a faithful warrior to his lord Higlac. Lastly, Beowulf is faithful and loyal to Hrothgar. In this case, when Beowulf first arrives to the Danish shore, he boasts to Hrothgar, “That I, alone and with the help of my men,/ May purge all evil from this hall” (260-261).
Beowulf promises the Danes’ lord in his speech that he will kill Grendel. By making this promise, Beowulf is giving Hrothgar his trust and will stay faithful to his promise. Furthermore, after the battle with Grendel, the epic illustrates, “No Dane doubted/ The victory… Beowulf had hung it, was the monster’s/ Arm, claw and shoulder” (407-410). Beowulf won the fight with Grendel and proved his skill as a warrior by harming the monster.
By maintaining his promise to Hrothgar to slay Grendel, Beowulf demonstrates his loyalty. In essence, Beowulf lived up to the ideal of his loyalty to Hrothgar. Throughout Beowulf, Beowulf’s relationship with Higlac and Hrothgar emphasized his extraordinary faithfulness. Highlighted by other thane’s failures to live up the ideal of loyalty, the epic shows how Beowulf maintains his. During the struggles and conflicts with monsters, Beowulf preserves his loyalty to his lords.