the sovereignty of beowulf kings



Beowulf unwraps with the story of the historical king, Protect Sheafson, to be able to establish a debate on kingship, and to start a definition of what produces a good ruler. Once this definition have been established, the written text uses that to evaluate the other Western european kings inside the tale, specifically Hrothgar and Beowulf. This kind of exploration of Western kingship sooner or later leads the present day reader to a discourse within the reign from the High King of the World (182), God. As the text shows the reader with tales of Gods reign, in the same way it tells of Hrothgars and Beowulfs reign, whilst simultaneously featuring the reader which has a definition of good kingship, this invites the reader to evaluate Gods rule. The text provides its reader with an opportunity to issue the limits of Gods kingship, as well as to assess His relation to His topics, mankind.

Initially, the text focuses on their definition of what attributes and behaviors a fit monarch need to have. According to the text message, Shield Sheafson qualifies as you good king (11) because he rampage[s] against foes (5), father[s] a famous kid (18), will get obedience if he lays over the law among the Danes (29), and goes on thriving (26) until his death. These types of characteristics end up being the texts basis for analyzing other kings. Therefore , the written text demands which a king need to manifest the ability to protect his kingdom, provide for its future, control obedience, and keep his strength in order to be regarded a good leader.

Hrothgar fails the texts test of good kingship because he are not able to protect his kingdom coming from harm in the old age. Although the narrator good remarks Hrothgar as a mighty prince (129), there is certainly ironic range between the narrators descriptions and reality, and between the narrators and creators voices. If the narrator explains Hrothgar as being a mighty knight in shining armor (129), the kings activities reveal him as stricken and weak, / humiliated by the loss of his guard (130-1). Likewise, when the narrator describes Hrothgar as the great guardian in the ring-hoard, whom walk[s] in majesty (920-1), the irony lies in the fact that Hrothgar in fact comes from the womens quarters (920). A true, powerful ruler would be from the battlefield, certainly not the bedroom. Despite the narrators lavish reward, the writers criticism of Hrothgars activities rings very clear. The narrators claims of Hrothgars achievement are actually authorial accusations of Hrothgars poor kingship. If the narrator claims that Hrothgar is his nations safeguard (268), the protector of Shieldings (371), his peoples ring of defense (429), and their shield in warfare (663), the author utilizes the ironic disjoint between the explanations of Hrothgar and his accurate behavior to highlight the fact that he is a weak full, unable to defend his persons.

Likewise, Hrothgars speech to Beowulf counseling him to be cautious with old age, pleasure, and unthinkingness (1733) is definitely not merely what seems for the surface. The speech as well functions as being a narrative of Hrothgars very own mistakes. That reveals Hrothgars knowledge of his failures as king, he recognizes that he is unsucssesful his persons, and expectations his know-how will help Beowulf avoid the same fate. Hrothgar seems to receive his failings as a california king through his honest hard work to understand and accept the mistakes this individual has made. He may have succumbed to pride, disease and retirement years (1735) as news got around, but now he realizes that men should certainly beware of that trap (1758) of satisfaction, and realize that death appear (1767). Even though unable to live up to the tale of Safeguard Sheafsons very good kingship, he does gain awareness of what he lacks. The text counsels that understanding is always finest (1058), and Hrothgar passes this test of understanding. He knows that old age, pride, and unthinkingness (1733) have been his undoing, and by recognizing this fact there exists hope that he can move the knowledge on, and a fantastic king can rise coming from it.

The evaluation of Hrothgars kingship brings about an research of Beowulfs reign. In line with the standards the written text sets up, Beowulf does not be eligible as a very good king. He fails to provide for his lenders future with any sort of heir, and this individual jeopardizes his people by thinking of his own fame and power when he goes to fight the dragon instead of thinking of their welfare. As the text alerts, often when one gentleman follows his own will/ many are harm (3077-8). The great pride that prevents him from lin[ing] up with a huge army as well as against the sky-plague (2346-7) prospects him to his fatality and his individuals to the edge of disaster, leaderless and vulnerable. Irrespective of his superb strength, as well as the heroic achievements of his youth, this individual fails to match the requirements of protecting and providing for his people. Additionally , he seems to absence the redemption insight Hrothgar had regarding his personal failings. He goes to his death proud of his accomplishments, believing he leaves his people well endowed (2798), and unable to grasp the risk he offers placed all of them in. The gold this individual wins is useless to them, meant to be furled in flames (3015) along with his lifeless body system. If understanding is best, then simply Beowulf is far from wonderful.

This kind of constitutes the analysis a medieval audience might have built about the written text of Beowulf. He would have gleaned in the text the message that kings need to protect, offer, command, and endure for their people to become good frontrunners. Additionally , a medieval target audience could have viewed a message inside the text that human kings like Hrothgar and Beowulf have faults, but that some hope might rest in understanding and correcting these faults. The written text may even had been viewed as a vessel pertaining to containing the record of the faults, in the hope that they can might be averted in the future. The portrayal of flawed individual kingship undoubtedly existed inside the text to get readers inside the medieval period, and continues to can be found in the 21st century. However , for modern day readers the written text opens up an extra discourse that medieval visitors might not have recognized, nor a medieval writer intentionally commenced, on the kingship of the Authentic King of Triumphs (3055), God.

The rule of The almighty in Beowulf is provided to the reader throughout the testimonies of Defend, Hrothgar and Beowulf. Every single event inside the work is usually attributed to Our god. The text provides reader an obvious opportunity to investigate and question Gods guideline in the same way the fact that text as well as the reader problem Hrothgars and Beowulfs kingships.

In three values, the The almighty of Beowulf is as best a full as one want Him to get. He provides for the future of his people, He always gets obedience when He demands that, and his power never dies out. The future of Gods people can be secured in two ways. Seeing that God is usually immortal, His people will not ever suffer to get lack of an innovator. Old age are not able to do him mortal damage, as it has done [to] a lot of human nobleman. Additionally , based on the Christian beliefs, God provides his people a perfect heir, Christ, that will in turn let them have perfect inheritance, eternal existence. These items are far better than the rare metal and prize human kings like Beowulf are able to get for their people. In comparison to the inheritance God offers chosen to give upon mankind, Beowulfs heritage of rare metal seems fantastically useless and meager. In terms of receiving compliance, it is implicitly clear inside the text that God includes a wide knowledge, and that his subjects constantly obey Him. According to the text message, He not merely rules over mankind (701), but also wields power/ over time and tide (1610-11). In terms of maintaining strength, He could be immortal. He will probably not succumb to old age in the way that mortal kings perform, His people will not be sacrificed due to any weakness in Him. The simple fact that males die is the greatest division between God and men, the greatest symbol of His electricity and guys impotence.

Despite His overwhelming abilities to provide, command and endure for guy, the Almighty Rulers capacity or wish to protect him falls in question. The seeds of doubt around Gods motives toward mankind are sown by the text messages insistence that each event arises through Gods will, that what Goodness judged correct would regulation what happened/ to every gentleman (2858-9). The situation with this kind of theory is the fact many terrible things affect men in Beowulf, of course, if God is indeed responsible, then either He is indifferent to mans battling and refuses to protect them via it, or perhaps He cannot stand mankind and purposefully causes it. If He handles all, how come he allow the Danes endure twelve winter seasons (147) just before finally delivering Beowulf to defend [them] coming from Grendel? Why does He enable so many of his themes to get caught in Grendels clutches (478) and become eaten up hand and foot (743-4), when He may easily cease these raids and harrowing attacks (478-9)? One may well argue that Goodness only punishes the incredible and the weak through Grendels rages, then again why does God will Grendel to take and get rid of Aeshere, a guy who was almost everything the world admires in a sensible man and a friend (1328-9)? As long as God disallowed it/ the revolutionary could not carry them to his shadow-bourne (707-8), but as he works in holding them off, then Goodness is declining as mankinds keeper (3055) and ruler. Either away of plaisanterie, indifference, or possibly incomprehensible perception, God fails to protect His people coming from suffering.

However , His failure factors the reader toward different conclusions than the failures of Hrothgar and Beowulf. The two earthly kings can be viewed as examples to show mankind what shortcomings kings may possess, and perhaps encourage them to improve earthly command, or at least, to be aware of its defects. However , the lesson in the analysis of Gods rule is quite different. As the text aptly states, Almighty God rules over mankind, and always (701) has. Therefore , the value of learning the benevolence, indifference, or understanding of Goodness as a leader is dwarfed by the need for understanding His power. Gods inexplicable and undesired power over guy is what just about every man need to come to acceptwhether Goodness feels consideration, indifference, or perhaps loathing intended for man, you cannot find any way for man to alter in the least the Almightys will (2856), and so just about every man need to go Gods way. The text counsels the man whom understands, nevertheless , shall fare better than this individual who does not. Therefore , the lesson in Beowulf to get kings, rulers, and regular citizens is always to understand types weakness when compared to Gods durability.


1 . Spiel, English 45A, Professor Jennifer Miller, School of Cal, Berkeley, 9/8/2003

  • Category: materials
  • Words: 1894
  • Pages: 7
  • Project Type: Essay