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Transcript of Beowulf
The theme is exemplified in many different ways throughout the book. Both Beowulf and Hygelac demonstrate generosity and hospitality. This is shown first hand when Beowulf traveled to Hrothgar's kingdom to defeat Grendel and Grendel's mother. When he received his rewards from Hrothgar he accepted them and then passed them on to Hygelac illustrating the qualities of the theme. Furthermore, Hygelac shows his generosity when he presents Beowulf with treasures, land, and a throne for all that Beowulf did and accomplished for his kingdom.
"Heorot was the name he had settled on it, whose utterance was law. Nor did he renege, but doled out rings and torques at the table" (Heaney 7).
The mark of a good king was that he was generous and hospitable. By building the Heorot Hall for himself and his people, shows he is both.
"These, King Hygelac, I am happy to present to you as gifts. It is still upon your grace that all favour depends. I have few kinsmen who are close, my king, except for your kind self"(Heaney 147).
"it was the best example of a gem-studded sword in the Geat treasury. This he laid on Beowulf's lap and then rewarded him with land as well, seven thousand hides, and a hall and a throne"(Heaney 149).
Hrothgar thanked Beowulf or saving Heorot and, "adopted Beowulf into his heart" (Heaney 63).
Hrothgar and the Danes thought of Beowulf as part of their family, even though Beowulf was Geatish, not Danish.
"The mark of a good man is that he is generous and hospitable"
Introduction to theme
A good man has exemplary characteristics such as being generous and hospitable; these attributes are displayed in Beowulf. Beowulf exemplifies a good man because he puts others needs before his. He makes sure he is friendly and courteous to others and stays loyal to those who assist him. Greedy and unsociable men who do not possess these traits are labeled as bad and inadequate. Men that are inferior are not fit to be a king. This characteristic was also shown in Shield Sheafson who was a brave leader due to his rise from orphan to warrior-king; “That was one good king” (Heaney 11).
"Thus Beowulf bore himself with valour; he was formidable in battle yet behaved with honour and took no advantage" (Heaney 149)
In this quote Beowulf shows his generosity by not taking advantage of an opponent who is down or at a disadvantage. He only wants to fight his opponent at full strength.
Beowulf exemplifies generosity and hospitality when he beheaded Grendel's mother in order to protect the kingdom. For doing so, Halfdane's heir endowed him with gifts. Right after, Beowulf showed his true character when he then took his treasures and presented them to Hygelac.
Hygelac rewards Beowulf for the job he obtained by giving him land, seven thousand hides, a hall, and a throne. Hygelac's actions show his generosity and Beowulf's commitment to saving Hygelac's kingdom shows his hospitality.
"...I'll order my own comrades on their word of honour to watch your boat down there on the strand-keep her safe in her fresh tar, until the time comes for her curved prow to preen on the waves and bear this hero back to Geatland. May one so valiant and venturesome come unharmed through the clash of battle" - The Coast Guard (Heaney 21).
The Coast-Guard is immediately making Beowulf and his team feel welcomed, by saying how he and his friends will watch their boat. Also, by calling Beowulf, "valiant and venturesome."
"Then Halfdane's son presented Beowulf with a gold standard as a victory gift, an embroidered banner; also breast-mail and a helmet; and a sword carried high, that was both precious object and taken of honour" (Heaney 69).
The son of Halfdane gave Beowulf gifts as a thank you for his bravery. He thanked him in anyway a warrior would have wanted, with a sword, helmet, chest protector, and decorated banner.
Heaney, Seamus, trans.
. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2000.
"They sang then played to please the hero, words and music for their warrior prince, harptunes and tales of adverture" (Heaney 71).
The Danes wanted to thank Beowulf for all he had done for them. They referred to Beowulf as their "hero" and "warrior prince."
“So they went on their journey, and Hrothgar’s generosity was praised repeatedly. He was a peerless king until old age sapped his strength and did him mortal harm, as it has done so many”
This quote shows that generosity is a trait of a good king (ring-giver) that is needed to be respected by other people. Hrothgar is a “peerless king” which implies that he cannot be compared to others because of his generosity as a king.
“If this combat kills me, take care of my company, my comrades in arms. And be sure also, my beloved Hrothgar, to send Hygelac the treasures I received”
This is a quote from Beowulf that shows that he cares very much for the people who take care of him and show him hospitality, so, in return if he were to be defeated in battle he would want his king to inherit his treasures form his new beloved friend Hrothgar.
Hrothgar, King of the Danes, built a great mead-hall for his people to show his power to the rest of the world. Hrothgar is a great example of a ring-giver because of all the generous gifts that he presents to Beowulf for helping the Danes. King Hrothgar is called “ring-giver” or “treasure giver” which are both names that symbolize the generosity of the king.
“The chieftain went on to reward the others:
Each man on the bench who had sailed with Beowulf
and risked the voyage received a bounty,
some treasured possession. And compensation,
a price in gold, was settled for the Geat
Grendel had cruelly killed earlier”
This shows that King Hrothgar is very generous to the people who have helped his kingdom in this terrible time. Hrothgar is not conservative with his wealth as he gives generous gifts to all people who are loyal to him. Every person who traveled with Beowulf received a reward for the deed they did for the king.
"Yet there was no way the weakened nation could get Beowulf to give in and agree to be elevated over Heardred as his lord or to undertake the office of kingship. But he did provide support for the prince, honoured and minded him until he matured as the ruler of Geatland." (Heaney 161)
Here we see Beowulf's respect to not taking over the role of the lord of Geatland and instead providing his support and advice to make him a better ruler. This generosity shows how he thought of other people over himself. He would rather see other people grow and become better than take over the reigns and credit for correcting Geatland.