Beowulf Mistakes as a Leader
Have you ever contemplated your reputation after death? A substantial societal principle during the era of “Beowulf” included a person’s notoriety after death. Hrothgar advises Beowulf to remain generous and selfless throughout life. He shows Beowulf what happens when somebody begins life with good deeds, then transforms into a narcissistic monarch much like King Heremod. Once King Heremod died, people remembered his self-centered acts rather than the generosity he showed when he ascended the throne. When a ruler makes a self-centered decision, the judgment voids his good deeds and taints his name after death.
However, when a good king dies the people show their gratitude by creating an elaborate funeral. The people cremate the bodies and bury them with nonpareil treasures to show appreciation. The last survivor of a race states that when a person has nobody to share their gold and treasures with, their treasures have no meaning. By remaining generous, a person becomes well liked and their life has purpose. In order to live a commendable life and leave a meritorious reputation after death, one must remember to remain generous and selfless consistently throughout life.
Although King Heremod started out as a wise and ambitious ruler, however, after his motives began to shift towards his personal interests, his name was associated with contemptible connotations. Hrothgar tells Beowulf not to follow Heremod’s example as an avaricious and egocentric monarch. Heremod once ruled with generosity and kindness, then transformed into a self-centered and covetous leader. He “. . . grew bloodthirsty, gave no more rings/to honour the Danes. He suffered in the end . . . . his life lost happiness” (1719-1722). King Heremod ceased practicing generosity, and as a result he lost his happiness and prominence as a good leader.
As his reign continued, the people were wary of his judgment and no longer looked up to him as a strong and virtuous leader. This shows that when humans have a lot of power, they tend to forget their morals and act in undesirable ways. King Hrothgar knows that when Beowulf inherits power, the power may go to his head and cause him to commit unthinkably self-centered acts. Hrothgar wants to ascertain Beowulf will not make the same mistakes as King Heremod. He reminds Beowulf to remember to remain a generous leader after he inherits