Leaders In Beowulf
· Beowulf ultimately represents the ideals of Anglo-Saxons; he is a valiant, courageous warrior, who grows into a wise leader. He maintains his morality during his 50 years as king of the Geats, even refusing extra power when he believes he was overstepping his place. At the end of the epic, he dies in a heroic battle against a dragon, and is given a noble funeral.
· Hrothgar is observed originally by his peers and citizens as a successful political leader and military figure. However, once Grendel emerges and begins terrorizing the town, he becomes terrified and passive, forcing him to turn to Beowulf to solve the problem. However, he balances this lack of aggression by becoming an extremely wise and patient leader. He is able to persuade Beowulf into risking his life for the good of Hrothgar’s kingdom. Hrothgar also molds Beowulf into becoming a wiser and more intelligent leader by sharing his advice and experiences.
· The tale of Sigemund, the dragon-slayer, is shared with the reader at Heorot just after Beowulf kills Grendel, creating an important contrast between the two characters. King Sigemund was a brave, wise, and valiant leader who was loved by all his citizens for saving their town and recapturing their treasure. However, the evil Heremod, who only desired the power of the king, slowly wore him down.
· King Heremod, a man of evil intentions, was a terrible leader who only desired wealth and ultimate authority over his people. When disobeyed, he would murder his own citizens, and nearly lost control of his kingdom. His story of betrayal and lack of nobility shows a great contrast between Heremod and Beowulf.
· The tale of Queen Modthryth is shared with the reader just after Beowulf and his soldiers arrive home to show a contrast with the beautiful and peaceful Hygd. Modthryth would brutally punish anyone who dared even look at her. She assumed her people were plotting to overthrow her, and all her actions did was seal her fate.
· Hrothulf is arguably the worst human being in this epic. He is arrogant, unwise, and embodies everything the Danes despise. By stealing the throne from his deserving cousin, the reader can obviously notice a contrast between Hrothulf’s horrendous actions and the nobility of Beowulf, who rejects an opportunity at becoming king to assist the true heir to the throne. Only due to Beowulf’s reemergence does the Danish Kingdom survive.
· A brave warrior, Finn defeated the Danes and held them under his rule for an entire winter. However, he was unwise in the desire for resentment he sparked within the Danes, and how he attempted to solve it. Shortly after calling a truce, he was overthrown.
· Sheafson, the first mentioned character in the novel, was the original warrior king of the Danes. He was a courageous, influential human being who knew how to control his people, and negotiate with others. According to the legend, he was the model king for future generations.
· Beow followed in his father’s footsteps of wisdom and courageous leadership. He was very popular among his people, and was just the leader they needed to get over the loss of their previous king.